Judge denies sentencing delay in Chinese scholar case

July 3, 2019
1 of 3
FILE - This file photo provided by the Macon County Sheriff's Office in Decatur, Ill., shows Brendt Christensen. Jurors on Monday, June 24, 2019 in Peoria, Ill., have convicted Christensen, a former University of Illinois doctoral student in the slaying of Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar from China who was abducted at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease. The guilty verdict Monday was expected because Brendt Christensen's attorneys acknowledged from the start that he raped and stabbed Yingying Zhang in June 2017. (Macon County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A judge has denied a request to delay sentencing for a former University of Illinois student convicted in the kidnapping and murder of a visiting Chinese scholar.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports U.S. District Judge James Shadid issued the ruling Wednesday.

Jurors last week convicted Brendt Christensen in the 2017 killing of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. His sentencing begins Monday. Jurors will decide if he’ll receive life in prison or the death penalty.

Christensen’s lawyers argued that prosecutors turned over a large amount of victim impact videos at the last minute. They said it would take weeks to translate the videos from Chinese to English. They asked the judge to either bar them or delay sentencing.

The judge told prosecutors to give defense attorneys specific video clips they plan to use at sentencing.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.