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First Day of Trial: Defense Attorney Admits Client is Responsible for Death of Yingying Zhang, Who Went Missing Two Years Ago

This morning federal defense attorney George Taseff shocked a courtroom when he admitted that his client, Brendt Christensen, killed Chinese student Yingying Zhang, WTTW reports.

“Brendt Christensen is responsible for the death of Yingying Zhang,” George Taseff said in his opening statement on the first day of the trial. “Brendt Christensen killed Yingying Zhang.”

Christensen is on trial for the rape and murder of Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old visiting scholar at the University of Illinois who went missing two years ago. She was last seen alive on June 9, 2017. On that day Zhang missed a bus that was supposed to take her to a meeting where she would sign a lease for a new apartment.

Surveillance footage shows Zhang getting into a car allegedly driven by Christensen. Christensen posed as an undercover cop to convince Zhang to get into his car. He then took her back to his apartment where the prosecution claims he raped and murdered her.

Despite Taseff’s admission of Christensen’s guilt, Taseff said the trial will continue because his client is “on trial for his life.” Taseff claimed that there are several factual issues about the case that need to be debated before sentencing. Christensen will also not change his not guilty plea.

The prosecution claims it has learned more details about the case through recordings that Christensen’s girlfriend took of their conversations. On one of the recordings, Christensen allegedly says that Zhang’s body will never be found.

Taseff refuted few of the details presented by the prosecution except for the assertion that Christensen claimed that Zhang was his 13th victim.

More details about the case will emerge as the trial continues. Christensen’s girlfriend is expected to testify. The Chicago Sun Times says that she is the prosecution’s star witness.

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