Today was day seven in Brendt Christensen’s trial over the disappearance of Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying two years ago. Her body was never found.
Jurors heard compelling testimony, revealing chilling details into Zhang’s fate.
CGTN’s Dan Williams has the latest.
Christensen’s attorney has already told the court that his client killed Zhang. The defense goal now, to get Christensen spared from the death penalty.
With U.S. federal prosecutors close to wrapping up their case in the Brendt Christensen trial, they called for their key witness, Christensen’s former girlfriend Terra Bullis.
Less than a week after Zhang disappeared, Bullis agreed to wear a wire for FBI investigators.
With Zhang’s family present in the court, those recordings were played to the jury.
A critical recording occurred on July 29, at a vigil for Zhang, 20 days after she had disappeared.
Christensen had wanted to attend.
On the tape, Christensen is heard saying that he just wanted to see how many people were at the event “for him.”
“They have no idea what happened,” he said. “I’m the only one.”
Bullis told the court that at one point during the vigil, Christensen took her phone and typed four lines of text. Deleting each one as he went. They read:
“It was me”
“She was number 13”
“She is gone”
On the recordings, he described in detail how he kidnapped, raped and then killed Zhang.
How Zhang had fought more than anyone else.
“Stronger than any victims I ever had,” Christensen said in the recording.
He describes how he ‘broke her head open’ with a baseball bat but that Zhang still fought back.
He then said, he cut off her head. He is heard on the recording laughing as he says, “none of this zombie, she was done.”
He said on the tape that he will never reveal where Zhang’s body is.
The testimony followed a video recording played in court — of Christensen being interviewed by FBI agents just a few days after Zhang’s disappearance.
That recording reveals how Christensen changed his story.
“Maybe I am getting my days mixed up,” said Christensen.
“OK,” said an agent.
“I thought I drove around on Saturday. I did pick a girl up,” said Christensen. “I don’t remember where. I saw her picture. I don’t think it was her though.”
“Where did you take her Brendt? We need to find Yingying. Tonight,” said an agent.
Earlier, an FBI forensic examiner told the court that DNA found in Christensen’s apartment was an overwhelming match – to that belonging to Zhang.
Jury deliberations are expected to start next week.