Family disagrees with sentence; still without peace


PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s the culmination of two years of waiting for both the Zhang and Christensen families. The defendant’s parents won’t be losing their son, but the Zhangs will never again have their daughter.

As the jury’s decision, or lack of a decision, was announced, Christensen’s mother had tears in her eyes. It was hard to see much emotion on Christensen’s face, but he hugged members of his defense team.

Zhang’s family was even more difficult to read. They barely moved when the sentence was read.

Family attorney and liaison Steve Beckett said, “The family is devastated, especially the mother, Lifeng Ye, and this is the second worst feeling for the family since they found out that their daughter had been kidnapped and killed.”

Christensen’s family and his defense team, on the other hand, have a victory. They said Wednesday, Christensen isn’t the “worst of the worst,” and he’s “more than just the horrible thing he did.”

The Zhangs never asked the jury to choose one way or the other, but wanted jurors to be able to at least consider the death penalty. Thursday, they pleaded with Christensen to end their torment, appealing to his humanity, to tell them where their daughter’s remains are.

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