Christensen trial moving to Peoria

court christensen.jpg

The trial for the man accused in the 2017 killing of missing U of I scholar Yingying Zhang is officially moving to Peoria.

Zhang's body hasn't been found.

Government attorneys have said they plan to seek the death penalty because Christensen allegedly tortured Zhang before killing her.

Peoria-based U.S. District Judge James Shadid this week approved a request from attorneys for Brendt Christensen to move the case, citing the convenience to parties in the case, more courthouse space and his ability to manage filings in the case.

Lawyers for accused kidnapper Brendt Christensen requested his trial be moved since October.

They had released the results of a study that show it'd be easier to find an unbiased jury there.

The survey interviewed 400 jury-eligible citizens from Urbana and Peoria, finding that more than 75 percent of Urbana residents are familiar with the case.

Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin in April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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