Ben Zigterman

Ben Zigterman

Christensen Trial, Day 6 | Goal for prequalifed jurors reached

URBANA — After a jury is selected Tuesday, lawyers will make opening statements Wednesday in the trial of accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen.

On Monday, three more potential jurors were prequalified and two were excused, bringing the total prequalified to the court's goal of 70.

Just Askin' | Willard director search

Q: When is the University of Illinois going to hire a new executive director fpr Willard Airport?

A: It should be soon, UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said.

"Candidates have been interviewed, so we are hopeful to wrap up the search within the next couple of weeks," she said in an email.

Christensen trial | Both sides utilizing consultants to try to stack jury

PEORIA — After a week of qualifying potential jurors, prosecutors and attorneys for accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen will meet Tuesday to narrow the pool of about 70 until they reach a final 12 and six alternates.

They'll do so with the help of jury consultants, which are rarely used in trials around here.

Christensen trial, Day 4 | Prosecutors want audio heard over headphones

CHAMPAIGN — Prosecutors plan to use accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen's own voice against him at trial, but there appears to be some dispute about what exactly he said into the wire his girlfriend was wearing.

Christensen trial, Day 3 | Judge expects opening statements Wednesday

URBANA — Lawyers are expected to make their opening statements Wednesday in the trial of accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen, U.S. District Judge James Shadid said at the third day of jury selection in Peoria.

And prosecutors said that they may be able to present their case in eight days or less, more quickly than the 2.5 weeks they previously said it might take.

Christensen trial, Day 2 | Jury-selection process about halfway done

URBANA — Twenty-four more potential jurors were pre-approved Tuesday to participate in the trial of accused kidnapper and killer Brendt Christensen, bringing the total up to 37.

Once about 70 potential jurors are pre-approved, both Christensen's lawyers and prosecutors will be able to strike 20 without cause.

Christensen trial, Day 1 | 29 potential jurors questioned; 13 pre-approved

PEORIA — Nearly two years after Yingying Zhang was last seen, the trial of her accused kidnapper and killer began Monday with jury selection.

Out of 29 potential jurors who appeared at the federal courthouse in Peoria, 13 were pre-approved Monday to participate in the trial of Brendt Christensen.

LIVE: Christensen trial, Day 1

Ben Zigterman broke down the trial in Sunday's News-Gazette. Read his stories here and here (on the sentencing phase).

Just Askin' | Walking over the Prospect/I-74 bridge

Q: Will pedestrians be able to walk across the Prospect Avenue bridge over Interstate 74 during construction?

A: No, they won't, at least during part of it.

During the second phase, construction crews will be redoing the east half of the bridge, including where the sidewalk is, said Ken Crawford, IDOT's implementation manager for District 5.

Area farmers hit by rain, trade war have lots of questions about bailout

MAHOMET — Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $16 billion aid package for farmers, but some area farmers still aren't sure what it means for them.

"I've read some about it, but I still have a lot of questions," said Paul Berbaum, who farms west of Champaign.