Christensen lawyers plan mental-health defense to avoid death penalty

URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - A federal judge ruled Monday to move Brendt Christensen's trial date to 2019.

The judge said he looked at several similar cases where the death penalty is possible to help determine the date. The trial is set for April 2, 2019. The judge said the first several days will be for jury selection and expects the actual trial to start April 9.

Both the prosecution and the defense agreed on pushing back the trial, and submitted paperwork last week.

Christensen is currently in custody on charges of kidnapping resulting in death of Yingying Zhang, who was a visiting scholar to the University of Illinois. She went missing on June 9 and her body has never been found.