Day 6: Trial’s late start

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WCIA) — Forensic examiner Amanda Bakker takes the stand Wednesday in Brendt Christensen’s murder trial. He’s on trial for the 2017 murder of UI scholar Yingying Zhang.

Bakker is based at the FBI’s Quantico headquarters. She testifies as to how DNA testing works.

She states the baseball bat, reportedly used to strike Zhang in the head, tested positive for Zhang’s DNA.

Assistant federal defense attorney Elisabeth Pollock points out Bakker couldn’t tell whether the DNA came from blood, skin, nails or something else.

She agrees Zhang’s DNA was in Christensen’s bedroom, but can’t determine exactly where the DNA originated from.

Bakker’s testimony continues and supports the assertion the underside of a piece of carpet cut from under Christensen’s bed tested positive for both blood and Zhang’s DNA, by a likelihood ratio of 97 octillion it was hers than not.

Christensen’s ex-girlfriend will be called to the stand next. Prosecutors say her testimony could last “several hours” so it likely won’t end Wednesday.

Christensen’s now ex-girlfriend, Terra Bullis, took the stand to testify.

Christensen’s now ex-girlfriend, Terra Bullis testified in court

Bullis details her relationship with Christensen and describes herself as polyamorous. She was living in a house with others who also follow the practice.

Bullis says her first date with Christensen was “normal,” and took place at a cafe/bookstore.

Bullis testified the couple practiced BDSM using the “stoplight system:” each color representing one’s degree of consent.

She says she had to say “red” once when Christensen was flogging her and things were never really the same after that.

Bullis stated she was continually concerned about Christensen’s drinking habits and states his wife was as well.

Assistant State’s Attorney James Nelson raises the issue of text messages between the two she provided to the FBI.

A text from Christensen states, “I would never do anything so dumb I could go to jail, though that would be very, very interesting.” He also texted her about how he wanted to be remembered.

Bullis testifies all of it was concerning to her. She says Christensen admitted he thought he could kill someone and get away with it and that it would be easy.

Bullis admitted being emotionally attached to Christensen

Bullis admitted being emotionally attached to Christensen and that’s why she decided to wear a wire for the FBI. She wanted to know whether he had anything to do with Zhang’s disappearance or not; whether it was true.

At times, Christensen appeared to wipe away tears. He looked down at the defense table, possibly to avoid eye contact with Bullis.

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