Latest Champaign News

Testimony ends in penalty phase of slain Chinese woman case

Jul. 16, 2019 2:19 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Testimony has wrapped up in the penalty phase of the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted of killing a scholar from China. Prosecutors called their last witnesses Tuesday to rebut presentations by Brendt Christensen's lawyers. The (Champaign) News-Gazette...

Man convicted in Chinese scholar's death cries in court

Jul. 10, 2019 1:17 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted in the death of a Chinese scholar broke down crying as his father described how a death sentence would affect him. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that Michael Christensen testified Wednesday before the federal jury that...

Prosecutor: Death penalty warranted in scholar's killing

Jul. 8, 2019 5:17 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The legal battle over whether a former University of Illinois doctoral student should live or die for the kidnapping and slaying of a Chinese scholar began with a prosecutor on Monday telling jurors that the crime was so vicious that the death penalty is warranted. "It was cold,...

The Latest: Prosecutor makes case to jury for death penalty

Jul. 8, 2019 4:48 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on sentencing hearing for man convicted in death of Chinese scholar (all times local): 3:55 p.m. A prosecutor is telling a federal jury that convicted a former University of Illinois doctoral student last month in the kidnapping and killing a Chinese scholar deserves the...

Judge denies sentencing delay in Chinese scholar case

Jul. 3, 2019 3:33 PM EDT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A judge has denied a request to delay sentencing for a former University of Illinois student convicted in the kidnapping and murder of a visiting Chinese scholar. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports U.S. District Judge James Shadid issued the ruling Wednesday. Jurors last week...

US judge removed from cases after emails to return to bench

Jun. 29, 2019 2:30 PM EDT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge who was removed from hearing criminal cases last summer as he was presiding over two of Illinois' highest-profile cases will be resuming all his duties in September. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that a judicial panel admonished Judge Colin Bruce for exchanging...

Former student guilty in slaying of visiting Chinese scholar

Jun. 24, 2019 8:59 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Jurors deliberated less than 90 minutes before returning a guilty verdict Monday in the federal death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student who abducted a visiting Chinese scholar from a bus stop and killed her at his apartment. Brendt Christensen didn't move...

The Latest: Jurors hear suspect say he killed scholar

Jun. 14, 2019 7:48 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The Latest from the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student charged with slaying a visiting scholar from China (all times local): 5:45 p.m. Prosecutors have played a secret audio recording at the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student charged with...

Jurors watch FBI video of suspect in Chinese scholar's death

Jun. 14, 2019 2:30 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student accused of killing a visiting scholar from China are watching video of the suspect explaining to an FBI agent that the woman looked "panicky" when he spotted her and offered her a ride. The (Champaign) News-Gazette...

Testimony: Suspect bought Drano after Chinese scholar death

Jun. 13, 2019 8:33 PM EDT

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A former University of Illinois doctoral student on trial in the killing of a visiting scholar from China bought Drano and garbage bags three days after the slaying, according to testimony Thursday. The detail came during the second day of the federal murder trial of Brendt Christensen...