Alva Review-Courier -

Admitting guilt at trial may help ex-student avoid execution


CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for a former University of Illinois doctoral student accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing a visiting scholar from China spent nearly two years preparing for the day they would address jurors for the first time at trial.

After all that, it took less than a minute for one of the defense attorneys to walk to a podium this week and acknowledge to the jury that their client, Brendt Christensen, did in fact carry out the slaying of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.

The admission during opening statements of the federal death-penalty trial Wednesday seemed to startle som...

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