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US man sentenced to life for Chinese student’s murder

  • 19 July 2019
  • Author: QT01
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US man sentenced to life for Chinese student’s murder
A former PhD student has been sentenced to life in prison for the kidnap and murder of a Chinese graduate student at the University of Illinois.
Brendt Christensen received the life term after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether he should be given the death penalty.
Christensen, 30, abducted Zhang Yingying on campus in June 2017 before beating her to death with a baseball bat and decapitating her.
Her remains have never been found.
Zhang's parents and fiancé had attended the five-week trial in Peoria, south-west of Chicago.
The proceedings have been followed closely in China, which sent consular officials to Thursday's hearing. There has been an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media that Christensen did not receive the death penalty.
Handing down the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release, US District Judge James Shadid said Christensen's actions were "an inexplicable act of violence".
He said the Zhang family might never learn where their daughter's remains are.
"Whatever self-centred opinion you have of yourself, when you are taken out of here today by the United States marshals, to wait for that lonely, isolated and cold deathbed that follows your natural life in prison, maybe, just maybe, the moment will strike you to pick up paper and pen and write 'I'm sorry' to Mr and Mrs Zhang," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Christensen did not speak during the hearing.
Afterwards, Zhang's father, Ronggao Zhang, said the family would "not have peace or closure" until her remains were found.
"If you have any humanity left in your soul, please help us end our torment," said a family statement addressed to Christensen.
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