WORLD Informant provides new evidence in Zhang Yingying murder case


Informant provides new evidence in Zhang Yingying murder case

By Gao Shi | People's Daily app

05:46, October 20, 2018


Washington (People's Daily) - Prosecutors said they obtained an important statement this week, according to the News-Gazette, from an informant at the Macon County Jail where Brendt Christensen has been held since 2017 as he awaits trial for the kidnapping and murder of college student Yingying Zhang. 

Christensen allegedly told the informant “he lured (Yingying) Zhang into his car by showing her a badge and telling her he was a police officer," prosecutors said.

Zhang was seen entering Christensen's car near a bus stop at the University of Illinois campus on June 9, 2017. Christensen was arrested June 30, 2017 for her kidnapping and was later charged with her murder. Zhang’s body has not yet been found. 

Christensen’s lawyer argued that the informant was acting under the direction of law enforcement, but the prosecution said the informant happened to be placed next to Christensen and formed a frienship with him. The informant then approached law enforcement agents about the statements Christensen made.

Zhang’s family and prosecutors said, in court motions filed this week, that they also want the trial of Christensen to remain in Urbana.

Christensen’s lawyers asked to move the trial to Peoria in September, since data shows that only 59 percent of respondents in Peoria were aware of the trial, compared to 76.5 percent in Urbana.

Prosecutors also asked for more time to respond to motions questioning the reliability of the government's body-sniffing dog and its blood and DNA experts. Christensen's lawyers said experts will testify that Zhang's DNA and blood that was found in Christensen's apartment two months ago. The prosecution said Christensen's lawyers hadn't provided their experts' testimony, so they cannot yet respond, and they also defended the use of statements Christensen gave to the FBI.

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