Judge sets April 2019 trial in missing Chinese scholar case

URBANA, Ill. (AP)

A federal judge has set an April 2019 trial date for a former physics student accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that U.S. District Court Judge Colin Bruce set the date during a hearing Monday. Prosecutors announced Jan. 19 they would seek capital punishment. They say Brendt Christensen allegedly tortured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang before killing her.

Neither prosecutors nor Christensen’s attorneys objected to the new trial date. The trial had been scheduled to begin later this month, but both prosecutors and defense attorneys requested that it be delayed.

Christensen was arrested last June, three weeks after Zhang disappeared. Her body hasn’t been found. Christensen has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping resulting in death.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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