Yingying Zhang Killer Sentencing to Death: Brendt Christensen Bio, Wiki, Age, Net Worth, Twitter, Instagram, Fast Facts You Need to Know

Brendt Christensen Bio

Brendt Christensen Bio

Brendt Allen Christensen, a Champaign resident. Christensen, born June 30, 1989, is a former Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois.

Brendt Christensen Age

He is 30 Years old.

Brendt Christensen Education

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in math and physics and graduated with a master’s degree in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2017. Before starting graduate school, he married Michelle Zortman in March 2013.

Who is Yingying Zhang

Yingying Zhang was a visiting scholar in the United States from China, who has not been seen since she entered a car at a bus stop on the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign campus on June 9, 2017.

Yingying Zhang Age

She was 27 years old

Yingying Zhang Biography

Yingying Zhang was born on December 21, 1990, in Nanping, a small city in Fujian Province in southeast China, to Ronggao Zhang and Lifeng Ye. Zhang has one younger brother, Zhengyang Zhang. She played in a band and had ambitions of becoming a professor in China. In 2013, Zhang graduated from Sun Yat-sen University in the top of her class. In 2016, she graduated from Peking University. Zhang was a visiting scholar in the Chinese Academy of Sciences[4] before travelling to the United States. She arrived in the United States in April 2017 to conduct research on photosynthesis and crop productivity for one year in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, within the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was considering entering a doctoral program at the University of Illinois. Zhang planned to marry her boyfriend, Xiaolin Hou, in October 2017.

Yingying Zhang Abduction

On the afternoon of June 9, 2017, Zhang was traveling on a Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus in Urbana, Illinois, to an off-campus apartment complex where she was planning to sign a new apartment lease. She was running late and sent a text message to the leasing agent at 1:39 p.m. to inform them that she would arrive at approximately 2:10 p.m. After riding on one bus, she exited at 1:52 p.m. and tried to transfer to another. However, apparently confused about the location of the bus stop, Zhang was unable to make the transfer; she attempted to flag down the bus, but it passed by without stopping.

Zhang then walked to another bus stop a few blocks away at the corner of North Goodwin Avenue and West Clark Street, directly in front of the university’s PBS radio and television station, WILL. Surveillance video cameras showed that a black Saturn Astra passed by her at 2:00 p.m. as she waited at the bus stop, and then circled back around and stopped where she was waiting at 2:03 p.m. She spoke to the driver for approximately one minute and then entered the car. She has not been seen since. Zhang was last seen wearing a charcoal-colored baseball cap, a pink-and-white top, a white undershirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes, and she was carrying a black backpack.

The leasing agent sent a text message to her at approximately 2:38 p.m., but received no reply. As the hours passed, Zhang’s friends, aware of her errand and expecting her to return quickly, grew increasingly worried. At 9:24 p.m., an associate professor called the police to report her missing.

Brendt Christensen Arrested

On June 30, 2017, the FBI arrested and charged Brendt Christensen, a Champaign resident and former physics graduate student at the university, with kidnapping Zhang. Based on evidence uncovered during the investigation, law enforcement officials said they believed Zhang was no longer alive On June 24, 2019, Christensen was convicted of Zhang’s murder.

will. That day, Christensen had attended a memorial walk for Zhang with his girlfriend, Terra Bullis. Bullis cooperated with FBI investigators and agreed to wear a wire, thinking that it would exonerate Christensen if he didn’t commit the crime.

On June 30, the FBI arrested and charged Brendt A. Christensen with kidnapping Zhang. He had no prior criminal record and no record of disciplinary problems at the university.

Investigators stated that they believed that Zhang was no longer alive, but declined to elaborate. The FBI report noted that in April, before the alleged kidnapping, Christensen used his cellphone to access the sexual fetish website Fetlife, visiting forums such as “Abduction 101” Christensen was charged with kidnapping under Title 18 U.S.C. Chapter 55, § 1201 of federal law (kidnapping). According to the law, if a kidnapping results in the death of any person, life imprisonment or the death penalty is prescribed.

At a court hearing on July 5, U.S. Magistrate Eric I. Long denied bail for Christensen after hearing submissions from the prosecutor and Christensen’s attorneys, Evan and Tom Bruno. Long said that Zhang’s still being missing weighed against Christensen and that Christensen was the last person to see Zhang. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Freres said that there was no “combination of conditions” where Christensen was not a danger to the community. Freres revealed more details from the investigation not presented in the criminal complaint. He told the court that Christensen had attended a vigil held for Zhang on June 29, where he had described “the characteristics of his ideal victim”, and had pointed out those in the crowd who matched them. Additionally, Christensen was recorded saying that Zhang had resisted and fought with him, and he was also recorded threatening someone who then provided incriminating evidence to authorities. Christensen’s attorney Evan Bruno argued that he should be released on bail due to his lack of criminal record and his ties to the local community.

Bruno said there remained things Christensen had not talked about, and that “what matters is whether there will be evidence to support the charge”.

Brendt Christensen Trial and conviction

On July 12, 2017, a federal grand jury formally indicted Brendt Christensen for kidnapping Yingying Zhang. The indictment alleges that Christensen “willfully and unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted, and carried away” Zhang “and otherwise held her for his own benefit and purpose, and used and caused to be used a means, facility and instrumentality of interstate commerce, namely, a Motorola cellular telephone and a Saturn Astra motor vehicle, in committing and in furtherance of the commission of the offense”. If Christensen is convicted of kidnapping, he could face up to life in prison. Christensen’s arraignment was on July 20; he pled “not guilty”.

After almost two years of pretrial litigation, Christensen’s trial began in June 2019. His defense attorney, George Taseff, admitted that Christensen killed Zhang and he was on “trial for his life” because he could face the death penalty.

The details of the murder were revealed at the trial. After bringing Zhang back to his apartment, Christensen raped, assaulted, and decapitated Zhang. As of June 2019, her body has still not been found.

On June 24, 2019, a federal jury with 12-member panel had deliberated for less than two hours, and found Christensen guilty on three counts: the first being kidnapping and murder of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang in 2017, and then two counts of making false statements to the FBI.

On July 18, 2019, Christensen was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole as a result that the same jury failed to unanimously agree on sentencing him to death.ed 

Fast Facts You Need to Know

  • Brendt Christensen, 29, was found guilty Monday of kidnap, rape and murder 
  • The federal court in Peoria heard that the former University of Illinois doctoral student beat Yingying Zhang to death with a baseball bat and decapitated her 
  • The Chinese scholar’s family will request the death penalty for Christensen
  • Jurors are still to decide whether he should be put to death 
  • His lawyers admitted to the murder in hopes of sparing him the death sentence
  • Defense lawyers have disputed some of the details about how and why he did it 
  • Zhang’s body has never been found since her disappearance on June 9, 2017
  • Zhang was 26 when Christensen posed as a police officer to lure her into his car
  • Prosecutors at trial said Christensen had been fantasizing about killing someone