Ying Ying Zhan

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict Monday at the federal death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student who killed a visiting scholar from China after abducting her at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

 PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — As Federal prosecutors on Wednesday shared with jurors grisly details of how they claim a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, then brutally beat and killed her, defense attorneys intent on sparing their client a possible death penalty offered an exceptional claim: He did it.

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The trial of a former graduate student charged with kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China is the first federal death-penalty trial in Illinois since it abolished capital punishment in 2011.

Some activists who fought to end executions in the state are dismayed.

Video of the trial of a former University of Illinois student accused of killing a Chinese scholar will be streamed from a federal courthouse to a viewing room near campus.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports a U.S. District Judge Tuesday approved the request "to accommodate members of the public and the victim's family."

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Peoria Public Radio

Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the man accused of kidnapping University of Illinois visiting scholar YingYing Zhang.

A public defender entered a “not guilty” plea Wednesday for Brendt Christensen, the 28-year-old man accused of kidnapping and killing Yingying Zhang. The brief arraignment hearing before Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long at the federal courthouse in Urbana came after an emotional outburst from Yingying’s mother.