Suspect in kidnapping of Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying pleads not guilty
2017-10-12 10:05:00

Brendt Christensen (Photo/VCG)

Brendt Christensen, the man accused of abducting a University of Illinois Chinese visiting scholar, Zhang Yingying, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to the charge of kidnapping. A prehearing will be held on February 12, 2018.

The 28-year-old Christensen appeared before a judge on Wednesday afternoon. It was his first court appearance after a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment on October 3, charging him with more serious crime of kidnapping resulting in Zhang’s death.

US Magistrate Judge Eric Long read the main part of the superseding indictment, and Christensen replied that he fully understood the three counts of charges, namely kidnapping resulting in death and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents. However, he pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The final ruling of the case will be on February 27, 2018, Judge Long said.

If convicted, Christensen faces sentence of mandatory life in prison or the death penalty. Editor:Dylan