Parents testify in killing of Chinese scholar in Illinois

World Today

Parents testify in killing of Chinese scholar in Illinois

An emotional day in the Brendt Christensen trial in Peoria in the U.S. state of Illinois.

The family of Zhang Yingying has been testifying during the death penalty phase.

At one point, Zhang’s father broke down in tears as did members of the jury and Christensen, who has already been found guilty of killing Zhang.

A jury must now decide whether Christensen should spend the rest of his life in prison, or be sentenced to death.

CGTN’s Dan Williams has the latest from the court.

Day two of sentencing in the Brendt Christensen trial and an emotional day for Zhang Yingying’s family.

This was the family’s chance to tell the court how Zhang’s death had affected them.

Zhang’s father Zhang Ronggao told the court that his life will never be complete without his daughter.

Zhang Ronggao was shown a picture of the last time the family had been together. It was at a train station as Zhang Yingying departed for the United States. After a long pause, he broke down in tears. Members of the jury also cried as did Christensen.

With emotions running high, a video was then shown of Zhang Yingying’s mother giving her testimony.

She said Zhang was ‘her everything’ and that ‘she doesn’t know how to carry on without her.’ During the video, a jury member left the court, in tears, prompting the judge to call a recess.

Earlier, Zhang’s boyfriend and fiancée told the jury that knowing the facts of what Christensen did to Zhang was too cruel and painful.

At that point, the defense objected on grounds of improper victim impact evidence.

They called for a mistrial which the judge denied. But he agreed to strike the statement from the record.

Zhang was last seen alive on June 9, 2017, getting into Christensen’s black Saturn Astra. Her body has never been found.

The defense says life in prison, without parole, is punishment enough for Christensen. The jury will soon decide his fate.