Man convicted in Chinese scholar’s death cries in court

PEORIA, Ill. — A former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted in the death of a Chinese scholar broke down crying as his father described how a death sentence would affect him.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that Michael Christensen testified Wednesday before the federal jury that convicted his son of kidnapping and killing 26-year-old Yingying Zhang in 2017. Jurors are to decide whether Brendt Christensen should be sentenced to death.

Michael Christensen testified that he has tried to picture his son about to be executed but that he “had to stop” because he “can’t think of that too much.”

Brendt Christensen’s face was red and his lawyers had their arms around him when his father left for a break.

Christensen’s father told jurors he still loves and supports his son.


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