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Openings expected next week in Chinese scholar slaying trial

June 7, 2019
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This undated photo provided by the University of Illinois Police Department shows Yingying Zhang. The parents of the visiting University of Illinois scholar who disappeared two years ago have arrived in Illinois from China for the murder trial of the man accused of abducting and killing her. Former Illinois student Brendt Christensen is charged with Zheng, whose body hasn't been found. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is set to begin Monday, June 3, 2019. (Courtesy of the University of Illinois Police Department via AP)
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This undated photo provided by the University of Illinois Police Department shows Yingying Zhang. The parents of the visiting University of Illinois scholar who disappeared two years ago have arrived in Illinois from China for the murder trial of the man accused of abducting and killing her. Former Illinois student Brendt Christensen is charged with Zheng, whose body hasn't been found. He pleaded not guilty and his trial is set to begin Monday, June 3, 2019. (Courtesy of the University of Illinois Police Department via AP)

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A judge at the trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing a visiting Chinese scholar says lawyers should be ready to deliver opening statements by the middle of next week.

Thursday is the fourth day of jury selection at Brendt Christensen’s trial in Peoria.

Champaign’s News-Gazette cites U.S. District Judge James Shadid as saying the final selection of 12 jurors and six alternates could happen Monday, with openings on Wednesday.

Christensen pleaded not guilty to charges he tricked or forced 26-year-old Yingying Zhang into his car off campus in 2017, then tortured and killed her.

Prosecutors informed Shadid they’ll need eight days for their presentation. Early, they’d said two weeks.

Evidence they intend to present includes a baseball bat and apparent blood stains in Christensen’s apartment.

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