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Jury expected next week in Chinese scholar’s slaying trial

June 4, 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)

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge overseeing the death-penalty trial of an ex-University of Illinois student charged with kidnapping and killing a visiting Chinese scholar says a jury should be in place by early next week.

Tuesday is the second day of jury selection at 29-year-old Brendt Christensen’s trial. Champaign’s News-Gazette says 29 potential jurors were vetted Monday.

The case has garnered enormous interest in China and among Chinese students in the U.S. Several Chinese diplomats are attending the Peoria trial.

Christensen pleaded not guilty to charges he lured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang into his car in June 2017 as she headed to sign an apartment lease off campus, then tortured and killed her.

Judge James Shadid said Monday jurors would hear evidence of “kidnapping, sexual assault and murder.”

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