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Judge denies sentencing delay in Chinese scholar slaying trial

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-07-04 05:22

Photo taken on June 4, 2019 shows the federal courthouse in Peoria, Illinois, the United States, where Brendt Christensen, will stand trial in the kidnapping and murder of visiting Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017. [Photo/IC]

CHICAGO - US District Judge James Shadid denied a defense request to delay the start of Brendt Christensen's sentencing, a lawyer of the victim's family told Xinhua on Wednesday.

A jury at a federal court of Peoria in the US state of Illinois last week unanimously ruled that Christensen was guilty of kidnapping which resulted in the death of visiting Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying in 2017.

Wang Zhidong, legal advisor to Zhang's family, told Xinhua on Wednesday the defense on Tuesday requested the judge to bar what they call a last-minute volume of evidence from their client's sentencing, or delay the sentencing phase from July 8 in Peoria to July 29.

According to Wang, Shadid denied Christensen's attorneys' request. The judge ordered prosecutors to turn over to the defense specific "victim impact video clips" the government plans to play at sentencing.

Prosecutors must also provide transcripts of those short videos and transcripts of the uncut videos by 5 pm Wednesday. Prosecutors said they will comply.

Christensen's sentencing is set to start Monday when a jury will decide if he gets death penalty or life in prison.

Zhang Yingying, a 26-year-old Chinese scholar, went missing on June 9, 2017, after getting into a black Saturn Astra about five blocks away from where she got off a bus on her way to an apartment complex to sign a lease.

Christensen was arrested on June 30, 2017, after being caught on tape pointing out people he described as "ideal victims" during a vigil in Zhang's honor.

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