URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The trial date has been set for the man accused of kidnapping and killing Yingying Zhang, but it won’t be any time soon. The judge set Brendt Christensen’s trial for April 2019.
He also denied the motion to move the trial out of Urbana. Christensen has been in jail since June. The government is seeking the death penalty in this case.
Christensen came into court with a green uniform and a more pronounced beard than has been seen in court sketches, but he didn’t speak. He only sat as the judge explained his reasons for pushing the trial back.
The judge said he looked at it from the viewpoint of when the notice of intent to seek the death penalty was filed, which was last month. The judge also took into consideration factors like how evidence is handled, holiday dates and the weather to make sure there wouldn’t be any delays.
The vice president of the Chinese Association of Illinois was shocked at the delayed date of the trial, but said he has faith in the judicial system and he expects justice to prevail.
China is 13-hours ahead of Illinois. Zhang’s family could not be reached. Her mother only wants to know where her daughter’s body is.
The judge says he expects the trial to take five weeks from jury selection to the verdict.