Former Illinois doctoral student convicted in Chinese scholar case

Courtesy: Macon County Sheriff's Office
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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) -- A former Illinois doctoral student was convicted in federal death-penalty trial of slaying visiting Chinese scholar.

The federal court clerk announced the decision in the case against Brendt Christensen on Monday afternoon.

Christensen was found guilty of kidnapping and killing a 26-year-old woman who was a visiting scholar from China in 2017.

Defense attorneys began the trial by admitting Christensen killed Yingying Zhang in 2017. It’s part of a strategy to try to persuade jurors to spare the 29-year-old Christensen’s life.

Jurors will soon decide whether Christensen should be sentenced to die. The penalty phase could last weeks.