Jury to consider death penalty for Brendt Christensen in U of I murder of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang

PEORIA, Ill. -- The same federal jury that last month convicted a former University of Illinois doctoral student of kidnapping and torturing a scholar visiting from China will now be asked to decide if the man should be executed.

Prosecutors will argue Monday that Brendt Christensen should be put to death and attorneys for the 2017 kidnapping and death of Yingying Zhang. Defense attorneys will ask that Christensen be sentenced to life without parole.

The proceedings will unfold as kind of a mini-trial that will include opening statements, exhibits, testimony and closing arguments.

The 30-year-old Christensen might testify. And in an effort to save his life, he could possibly reveal what he did with Zhang's body, which has never been found.

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