Defense asks for July 1 trial in Chinese scholar case

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Attorneys for a man accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China say they could be ready for a trial to begin July 1.

A judge already denied a request from Brendt Christensen's attorneys to delay proceedings until October, but said he would be open to a reasonable proposal. The trial was originally scheduled for September 2017.

Prosecutors are trying to prove Christensen kidnapped and killed 26-year-old Yingying Zhang in 2017.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Christensen's attorneys said they needed more time to find a psychiatrist. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that defense attorneys say they've found a new psychiatrist who could be prepared by July 1.

Prosecutors have until Friday to respond. A Monday hearing is scheduled to discuss the trial date.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com