Closing arguments next in University of Illinois student’s murder trial

Brendt Christensen.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – A judge has set closing arguments for Monday after a former University of Illinois student accused of killing a scholar from China declined to testify at a trial that could lead to the death penalty.

Prosecutors and Brendt Christensen’s lawyers rested their cases Friday in federal court in Peoria, Illinois. Christensen told a judge that he understood his right to testify but would remain silent.

The 29-year-old Christensen is accused of luring Yingying Zhang into his car in 2017 and killing her at his apartment. Her body hasn’t been found. Defense lawyers have acknowledged that Christensen killed the 26-year-old.

His lawyers called his ex-wife as a witness. Michelle Zortman told jurors that Christensen showed her a blood stain on a mattress and claimed it was from a bloody nose.

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