PEORIA, Ill. (WCIA) — More testimony from Brendt Christensen’s now ex-girlfriend, Terra Bullis, was heard Thursday afternoon. Christensen is on trial for the kidnapping resulting in murder of Yingying Zhang in June 2017.
Bullis texted Christensen the morning after a vigil in Zhang’s honor asking if he was hungover. When questioned about the text, in court, Bullis stated he was checking to see if he was okay.
Prosecutors question whether it had anything to do with the fact they were walking around the vigil drinking a bottle of rum. Bullis responds it was mixed with “copious” amounts of water. She testifies she knows how much water was mixed with the alcohol because she was also drinking it.
She admits she did nothing to stop Christensen from drinking and drank with him to avoid suspicion. Bullis is asked how many times while drunk Christensen admitted hurting a woman. She responds never.
Bullis is asked if Christensen ever expressed fantasies about choking someone, hitting someone with a baseball bat or cutting someone’s head off. She responds no.
When asked if Christensen said anything about the victim to indicate it was consensual. The defense objects to the question, but the judge overrules the objection. Bullis responds, “No sir.”
Bullis testifies Christensen told her, “I choked her [Yingying] for what must have been ten minutes.” He goes on to say he hit her with a bat to split her head open, then started stabbing her in the neck.
The prosecution asks, “He wasn’t sure she was dead, so he kept stabbing her in the neck?” Bullis responds yes.
The prosecution asks, “And you said, ‘So, she was able to grab?'” then continues asking about what Bullis meant by the question. Bullis explains the defendant once told her he had seen videos where people grab things after someone thinks they’re dead. Bullis explains it was Christensen’s reasoning for stabbing her after splitting her head open.
FBI Special Agent Greg Catey is called to testify. With more than 16-years experience in cellular call detail records, he is considered an “expert in the field.”
Catey confirms cellphone records show calls and texts ceased about 2 pm, June 9, 2017, the day Zhang was last seen. Catey indicates Christensen’s phone was quiet for about five hours during that time frame and it was unusual compared to his previous, typical cellphone usage.
Catey testifies Zhang’s phone was disabled between 2 – 2:30 pm that day but he wasn’t able to determine how. When asked during cross-examination of the phone had ever been found, he replied no.
FBI Special Agent Andrew Huckstadt returns to the stand. When questioned about the meaning of the victim’s name, he says it means “shining brightly” and “smart.”
Huckstadt says UI Police’s Reddit account posted about the suspect in Zhang’s disappearance riding around in a black vehicle, “pretending to be a cop.” Christensen posts underneath, “That’s very Ted Bundy-esque… scary.”
In a call between Christensen and his now ex-wife, Michelle, from the Macon County Jail, Christensen is recorded asking her to delete any comments from his accounts which look “stupid.” He also says, “Tell [Bullis] not to say anything to anyone other than our lawyers.”
When he asks if Michelle got a hold of “Bunny,” she replies she texted her. Christensen responds, “I just hope she’s okay.”
Huckstadt is questioned about Christensen’s enrollment in a UI course called Sociology of Deviance. He’s asked if “serial killer” appeared anywhere in a photocopy of the class’ textbook. Huckstadt replies no.
Under cross-examination, Huckstadt is asked if he had time to read the entire textbook and he replies no, only pages presented to him. When questioned if he saw any mention of murder/death/etc., he responds he doesn’t know.
The judge adjourns court for the day and says he expects both sides to rest their cases Friday and closing arguments to begin Monday.