PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Trial is set to begin for a former University of Illinois graduate student accused of kidnapping and killing a visiting scholar from China.
The death penalty is possible in the federal case that starts Monday, June 3 against 29-year-old Brendt Christensen. Authorities say he tricked or forced 26-year-old Yingying Zhang into his car in June 2017. Christensen has pleaded not guilty. He told the FBI he dropped Zhang off after a few blocks. Zhang's body hasn't been found.
Jury selection is expected to take about a week. Proceedings are in Peoria, a central Illinois city about 85 miles northwest of Champaign, where Zhang was studying at the university's flagship campus and where she was last seen.
Zhang's father, mother and brother have flown to Illinois from China for the trial.