Christensen’s defense team argues UI could be held in contempt of court

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WCIA) — Day 4 of Brent Christensen’s trial begins with his defense team taking aim at the University of Illinois.

The team filed a motion asking the court to seek an explanation from the UI as to why the University shouldn’t be held in contempt of court.

Assistant public defender Elisabeth Pollock filed the motion Sunday evening. She argues the UI failed to comply with a subpoena.

The motion details the argument: On May 30th, the defense subpoenaed the university for all documentation or communication related to Christensen’s assessment and treatment at the UI Counseling Center.

The motion states a university lawyer responded, objecting to the subpoena in part, because some of the information would be protected as “privileged communication.”

The motion states the defense asked the UI to counter by filing a motion to quash the subpoena, but says it didn’t, therefore, the purpose of filing the motion would be to get the university to comply.

The motion explains the defense team understands certain parts of their subpoena would be exempt, but they argue “the university is not free to make its own determination of what it considers to be privileged and thereafter ignore the subpoena.”

Judge Jim Shadid says he will review the motion.

FBI Special Agent Andrew Huckstadt is under cross-examination by Federal defense lawyer Lis Pollock.

Huckstadt testifies multiple DNA samples of Yingying Zhang were found in Christensen’s bedroom, but he is forced to admit zero DNA evidence of Zhang was found in the bathroom where Christensen is recorded stating he killed her.

Huckstadt maintains, if there had been DNA evidence, Christensen must have cleaned the bathroom.

Huckstadt is also forced to admit the FBI has not corroborated the defendant’s claim of killing 12 other people.

Pollock and Huckstadt do agree a website, FetLife, found on Christensen’s computer is like “Facebook for kinky people.”

Correspondences on Christensen’s computer show a conversation with another user of the site.

Christensen shares his idea of how the steps he would take for a specific crime: He’d break into the victim’s house, bind and gag the victim, put the victim into a duffel bag and carry it to the car before driving to a motel for sex with the victim.

Christensen reportedly messaged the other user because the user had posted about a “rape/kidnapping” fetish and the defendant was interested in playing out the role with the other user.

A forensic analyst continues testifying and details Christensen’s digital history.

Spreadsheet activity shows he downloaded a research paper on serial killers and had a hidden desktop folder containing pornographic images of women in bondage. He also viewed an “Abduction 101” article on the FetLife website.

He texted his girlfriend telling her he bought bed restraints, a blindfold and gag.

Some of Christensen’s quotes brought into evidence are as follows:

“I want company because then, instead of becoming a sociopath, I am in a good mood and have a good time with someone.”

“Fading into nothingness is the default for most people. If you want to know what terrifies men, it’s that. I will not fade away. I refuse. I don’t care how I am remembered, just that I am.”

“…I would rather destroy humanity than let that happen.”

He also says he feels people who look at him are afraid of that and he’s bothered by it.

“I don’t want fear.”

The day Zhang is recorded on surveillance video getting into Christensen’s Astra, he texted his girlfriend, Terra Bullis, “You don’t do the anything casual thing. From breathing to fine dining to murder.”

The “breathing to fine dining”quip is possibly a reference to a quote from a SpongeBob Squarepants episode.

FBI forensic analyst William O’Sullivan testified, in Christensen’s last text message to his girlfriend, Terra Bullis, before Zhang’s disappearance, he wrote, “You’re unique and in a weird, unique situation. It makes you my kitten.”

Bullis replies she’s off to “indulge in my frostiness” with another man.

O’Sullivan also testified FBI records show Christensen made frequent searches for information on Zhang’s abduction and the investigation.

Assistant public defender Elisabeth Pollock cross-examined O’Sullivan who admitted most of the pornography on Christensen’s computer was legal and “vanilla.”

He also testified Christensen only looked at articles related to serial killers for “seconds or a few minutes.”

“Are you familiar with SpongeBob SquarePants?” Pollock asks O’Sullivan in court.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.