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UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

PEORIA — After break, Pollock cross-examined Seccombe. He confirmed he’s never cleaned a carpet, among other things.

Pollock tried to point out that it wouldn’t make sense to only clean up in certain areas, as the alternative lighting source photos suggested.

Another FBI evidence expert, Courtney Corbett, echoed Seccombe’s testimony about the evidence of cleaning at Christensen’s apartment.

She said luminol flouresced in the bathtub, especially on the walls right above the tub, but later learned the maintenance man sprayed the tub with mold remover.

Pollock asked her what all was taken from the apartment as evidence. Corbett confirmed: carpet, kitchen sink, drains, sink traps. They "literally took the kitchen sink," Pollock said.

The case continues at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, as Judge Shadid is attending a funeral in the morning.

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

K9 handler Jeremy Bruketta on Tuesday afternoon testified that his dog alerted to the presence of body underneath vanity in Christensen’s bathroom, but nowhere else in apartment.

In cross-examination, Pollock questioned why the dog would only alert in bathroom — where FBI recovered no blood — and not in the bedroom, where blood stains were found on a mattress and under carpet.

Doug Seccombe, from the FBI evidence response team in Chicago, said they arrived July 1 and were there from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Portions of Christensen’s drywall, carpet and tackboard were submitted as evidence and shown to the jury.


FBI forensics expert Michael Maguire testified about his search of Christensen’s Astra and apartment, showing a picture using "alternative light source" of what appears to be handprints above Christensen’s bed.

The alternative light source highlights bodily fluids and cleaning supplies — though not blood — defense attorney Elisabeth Pollock noted.

Maguire’s search also showed extensive luminal reaction in the front passenger area of Christensen’s Astra, which seemed to indicate extensive cleaning, as no blood was found there.

Charles Hill testified about his conversations with Christensen at the Macon County Jail in the summer of 2017. They had cells next to each other in a separate area from the rest of the jail population.

They were in their cell 23 hours a day. "I spoke to him every day," Hill said. "I took a liking to him."

Christensen eventually told him he pulled up to a girl, had a police badge, she got in, but he took a wrong turn and she got out.

Hill told this to a correctional officer, who told it to the FBI.

Hill said Christensen cried twice while on the phone, laughed and giggled, read his books, talked to his lawyers.

UPDATE: 10:45 a.m.

PEORIA — Apartment maintenance man John Clark, who went to Christensen’s residence June 15, testified Tuesday morning.

The request was made June 13, four days after Christensen kidnapped Ms. Zhang, because "the grout has been peeling for quite some time and it’s getting a lot worse. There’s mold."

Clark said there was mold and mildew in some joints and some caulk peeling, but the grout appeared to be in normal condition.

He said he sprayed mold remover on the walls and put fresh caulk in the corners. It took about 30 minutes.

UIPD detective Tom Geis testified about searching Christensen’s safety deposit box at Busey Bank. His passport, lease agreement, a tax form, wedding certificate, vehicle registration and birth certificate were in there.

Emily Hogan, the UI grad student who said she was approached by a man the morning Ms. Zhang went missing, also testified, repeating much of what she said at a pretrial hearing in December.

"I’m an undercover cop," the man told her. "Could I ask you some questions?"

She said yes to what she described as a white male in his early 30s with short dark hair and clean shaven. He was also wearing aviators.

He showed her something with a silver star on it, she said, and asked, "Can you get in to the car?"

She said no, which seemed to surprise him, and backed away.

She then called the police and made a Facebook post about this.

A few days later, she identified Christensen’s photo in a lineup. She didn’t expect to recognize anyone, and "then I saw him. I was very shocked."

She said she had a physical reaction. "I was sick."


PEORIA — The latest schedule floated by attorneys in the Brendt Christensen trial could see the jury start deliberating this week.

Witnesses this week are expected to include Emily Hogan, a young woman who prosecutors say Christensen approached before kidnapping Yingying Zhang.

Also, Christensen's then-girlfriend Terra Bullis will take the stand. She's the one who secretly audio-taped Christensen for the FBI. Christensen's then-wife, Michelle Zortman, will be a defense witness — as early as Thursday.

Closing arguments by attorneys on both sides could be either Friday morning or Monday morning. The jury then will deliberate on a guilty or not guilty verdict only. If the verdict is guilty, jury talks will come later about whether to impose the death penalty or life in prison.

Elsewhere Tuesday, judge James Shadid ordered attorneys for the University of Illinois to appear at the courthouse Monday and bring documents related to Christensen's treatment at the school's counseling center. 

The defense had subpoenaed those documents, but the UI didn't comply.  So the defense asked the judge to step in.