Suspect in Chinese student kidnap case may face death penalty
An Illinois court has granted lawyers' request to terminate their contract to represent Brendt Christensen, the suspect in the Chinese student kidnap case.
A photo of Zhang Yingying released by the police [Photo: police.illinois.edu]
Christensen's former attorneys asking to withdraw from defending him is likely due to his lack of financial resources. They may also have backed out after federal prosecutors confirmed Christensen could face the death penalty.
The suspect has asked the court to appoint a new lawyer for him and Robert Tucker, an assistant public defender in Washington D.C., will likely be brought in to defend Christensen.
The trial of Christensen has been rescheduled until February 27, 2018, at the request of the suspect's lawyers.
Chinese scholar Zhang Yingying disappeared on June 9 near the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on her way to a meeting with an apartment manager. She was last seen getting into Christensen's black Saturn Astra.
Investigators say they believe the 26-year-old is dead. Her body has not been found.