Brendt Christensen Trial: Disturbing new details revealed in audio played at Yingying Zhang murder trial

PEORIA, Ill. (WLS) -- The murder trial of a U of I student continued Friday morning in Peoria, with video from a second interview the FBI conducted with the accused killer played in court.

Defense attorneys already admitted Brendt Christensen killed Yingying Zhang, a Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois. Now, they're trying to avoid the death penalty.

New disturbing details were also revealed in secretly recorded audio played for the jury Friday afternoon.

The jury listened with headphones to the audio recorded by Christensen's then girlfriend, who the court has identified as Tera Bullis. She agreed to wear a wire for the FBI.

Christensen went to a vigil for Zhang 20 days after she disappeared. He was arrested the following day.

In the hour long audio recording, Bullis mentioned that Christensen was drinking during the vigil. He brags about the size of the crowd and multiple news networks that were present during the vigil.

"I just wanted to see how many people were here for me," Christensen tells Bullis in the recording.

After the memorial concert, he continues to talk about Zhang.

"She fought more than anyone else I've ever met," Christensen said, in the recording. He also described Zhang as "supernatural."

He then describes how he raped, choked, beat and stabbed Zhang. Much of the account is too graphic to report.

He also said that the visiting scholar from China is not his only victim.

The prosecution said that the FBI has found no evidence that Christensen has killed before. The defense suggested most of the recording captures the ramblings of a drunk man.

It must be noted that this is not a one-way conversation. Bullis asks questions, responds and reaffirms Christensen's statements and even jokes at times during the recording.

"Yingying is the only person that has produced evidence that leads back to me. Number 13. I've been at this since I was 19," Christensen said. "The last person I would consider at my level that actually did anything was Ted Bundy."

Throughout the recording, Bullis asks questions, responds and reaffirms Christensen statements, even at times joking. At one point she said that she's alone, at night, with a serial killer.

The defense is expected to argue that the couple was essentially role-playing and that Bullis drew the statements out of Christensen.

The FBI testified that Bullis was crying and shaking when she handed over the recording.

Bullis is expected to testify after the trial resumes next week. The defense was granted her mental health records and is expected to present them as evidence.

Friday morning the jury heard from another FBI agent who conducted a second interview with Christensen in which he appeared to try to clear up some earlier statements that he had made to investigators.

That interview was conducted a couple days after a very contentious interview with the FBI and police in which Christensen admitted he did pick someone up resembling Yingying Zhang the day she disappeared after initially claiming he'd been home all day.

During the interview that the jury saw Friday, Christensen volunteered that he had cut his finger in his car recently and if investigators found blood in the vehicle, it was his.

At that time, the FBI had seized his black Saturn Astra, which was seen on surveillance video picking up Zhang. Incidentally, the FBI said it never found any blood in the car.

The third day of testimony ended a stunning week in which the defense admitted Christensen killed Zhang, but disputed evidence that he tortured her. That's perhaps an important distinction as the jury considers the death penalty.

Zhang's family has been in court for all of this, and so has Christensen's father.

During a recess, Zhang's boyfriend was seen walking over to Christensen's father, extended a handshake and exchanged a couple of words, a kind gesture at the end of a difficult week for both families.

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