Jurors hear recording of suspect describing how he killed scholar from China

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PEORIA, Ailing. — Jurors in a federal death-penalty trial heard secretly recorded audio Friday during which a former College of Illinois doctoral pupil describes to his girlfriend how he killed a visiting scholar from China, calling the 26-year-old lady “valiant” as she tried to combat again.

The (Champaign) Information-Gazette studies that the recording of Brendt Christensen was made by his girlfriend when she wore a wire for the FBI as the 2 attended a campus vigil on June 29, 2017, for the lacking scholar, Yingying Zhang. Christensen was arrested the following day.

Prosecutors on the trial in Peoria have mentioned Christensen posed as a police officer to lure Zhang into his automotive on June 9, 2017, after deciding he would kill somebody that day. Her physique hasn’t been discovered.

On the recording, Christensen tells his girlfriend about choking Zhang after he certain her and introduced her to his condominium, showing to explain with admiration how ferociously she resisted.

“She was valiant,” he says.

At his condominium, Christensen raped, choked, stabbed and beat Zhang, then decapitated her, in keeping with prosecutors.

Christensen, now 29, is heard telling his girlfriend he had been keen to inform somebody that he killed Zhang, and that he’s solely instructed her and that he trusts her. However he mentioned he wouldn’t inform her or anybody else what he did with Zhang’s physique.

Members of Zhang’s household, who traveled to Illinois from China to hitch the search, had been going to “depart empty-handed,” he’s heard telling his girlfriend.

“Nobody will ever know the place she is,” he says. “She’s gone perpetually.”

Prosecutors say Christensen had been fantasizing about killing somebody and changing into notorious. He appears to allude to the fantasy when he talks to his girlfriend about what Zhang’s dying means.

“It’s simply my legacy,” he mentioned.

Protection attorneys looking for to spare him a attainable dying sentence have instructed jurors that he did killed Zhang, although they dispute some particulars from prosecutors about how and why he did it.

The trial resumes Monday.