Christensen defense given more time to consider mental health defense

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Brendt Christensen, 28 Brendt Christensen, 28

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - The defense team for Brendt Christensen, the man accused of kidnapping and killing Chinese UofI scholar Yingying Zhang, is has been granted more time to determine whether they will present a mental health defense in court.

The trial that is still set for April 3, 2019, but the defense now has until Dec. 3 to say whether they will present the mental health defense.

The original due date was Sept. 21.

That will also give them time to seek the opinion of a third mental health expert.

Zhang was last seen June 9, 2017, at a campus bus stop. Her body has never been found. However, officials believe her to be dead.

Christensen was arrested on June 30, 2017 on a kidnapping charge. Several months later, a federal grand jury indicted him on additional charges of kidnapping resulting in death and lying to the FBI.

The government is seeking the death penalty.

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