Defense advantage w/April trial date

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The judge has set a trial date for Brendt Christensen, accused of kidnapping and killing UI scholar Yingying Zhang.

The government is seeking the death penalty. It and Christensen’s defense team agreed to delay the trial, but couldn’t agree on a court date.

The prosecution wanted October 2018; Christensen’s lawyers wanted June 2019. The judge set the trial for April 2, 2019; six months after the prosecution suggested and two months earlier than the defense sought.  

The judge reviewed previous federal and district court cases to determine when this trial should be set. The judge said he looked at information from when the notice of intent to seek the death penalty was filed; it happened last month.

He says the prosecution’s date of October was too soon and the defense’s date of June, 2019, is longer than necessary.

He also considered other factors such as evidence which is all electronic and on computer. The judge expects the trial to last five weeks. He also considered holiday dates as well as what the weather typically is so there are no delays.

The judge also denied motions, including changing the venue, suppressing evidence from Christensen’s apartment and recorded statements of his. 

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