Judge denies trial delay in Chinese scholar’s case

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Mugshot for Brendt Christensen, the man accused of kidnapping University of Illinois scholar YingYing Zhang.

URBANA, Ill. – A federal judge in central Illinois has denied a defense motion to delay the trial of a 28-year-old man accused of killing a University of Illinois scholar from China.

U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce on Wednesday ruled the trial of accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen remains set for Feb. 27. The government has to decide whether to seek the death penalty by Feb. 1.

Christensen is charged in the June kidnapping and death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Her body hasn’t been found.

In seeking a trial delay, Christensen’s attorney cited its complexity.

In his decision, Bruce noted the case does not involve extensive, highly technical computer forensics, nor is was it a fraud-related case involving thousands upon thousands of pages of documentary evidence.