Tanya Koonce/Illinois Public Media

Killer Of Yingying Zhang Sentenced To Life In Prison

The man convicted of murdering University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang will spend the rest of his life in federal prison “without release”. That was the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Jim Shadid Thursday, after a jury spent about nine hours deliberating before determining they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the death penalty for Brendt Christensen. 

Yingying Zhang Memorial Garden.
Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Divided Jury Means Life In Prison For Christensen

A former University of Illinois doctoral student was spared the death penalty Thursday and sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and killing of a 26-year-old scholar from China. Her parents, disappointed he was not sentenced to death, publicly begged for the killer to reveal where her remains are so they can be returned home.

Federal courthouse in Peoria.
Tanya Koonce/Illinois Public Media

Jury Begins Deliberations On Life Sentence Or Death Penalty For Brendt Christensen

Jurors received Brendt Christensen’s capital case for a second time about 1:40 P.M. Wednesday. A few weeks earlier, the same jury found Christensen guilty of the 2017 kidnapping and murder of University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang. This time, the question is the sentence for Christensen’s crime: life in prison or death by lethal injection.

More articles →