LIVE: The trial of Brendt Christensen, Day 3

 

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UPDATE: 5 p.m.

On Friday afternoon, the court listened to more than an hour of a June 29 recording with Christensen at the camnpus vigil, where he admits to his girlfriend that he killed Ms. Zhang and bragged that she was his 13th victim (which there’s no corroboration of).

Christensen tells her this is "a night that you’ll remember" and is surprised by how many people showed up. "I just wanted to see how many people were here." They’re here "for me."

While walking home, he eventually opens up to his girlfriend.

"All those people there tonight. They want her home safe. They have no idea what happened. I’m the only one. She was valiant."

Detailing how he killed her — which even the defense admitted was "deeply disturbing" — Christensen said she fought more than anyone else he’s ever killed (again, not corroborated).

"It’s just my legacy," he said.

Christensen said he was telling her because "I’ve wanted to talk about this with someone so much" and trusted her.

He said he wouldn’t kill his girlfriend because she’s too big. "It’s about getting rid of 100 pounds versus 150 pounds."

He bragged about getting national attention. "I didn’t want to but I still did."

He (Christensen can be seen in the upper right in the photo, above) was amused that the people at the vigil thanked him for being there. "It’s so weird."

He repeated that she was the only person he’d told. He said he told his wife about his murder fantasies before when he was drunk and it led her to want a divorce.

But he wouldn’t tell his girlfriend where Ms. Zhang is. "I won’t tell you where she is. I won’t tell anyone." "They will never find her." her family is going to "leave empty-handed." "No one will ever know where she is." "She’s gone forever."

He then was picked up by his wife, who accused him of being drunk, which his girlfriend confirmed, according to defense attorney Elisabeth Pollock in her cross examination.

While it was played, Christensen mostly looked down or at the screen ahead of him with a transcript of the conversation, making no noticeable reaction.

Cross examination will continue Monday.

UPDATE: Noon

The father of Brendt Christensen was in court and had a brief exchange with his son today.

Christensen smiled when he saw his dad. "Hi Dad," he said. "How's it going?"

Dad: "I'm good."

Christensen: "Me too."

Dad: "Be strong."

Leading up to a lunch break, Carter testified about studying Walmart security footage of Christensen buying Drano Max, a food storage container and a 32-pack of Swiffer wipes on June 11.

Carter also said search for Ms. Zhang continued well into 2018, including Allerton Park. Clinton Lake was searched on Nov 24, 2017.

FBI Agent Andrew Huckstadt testified about a June 15 search when he interviewed Christensen’s wife, who said Christensen’s favorite book was "American Psycho."

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PEORIA — On Day 3 of the death penalty trial of Brendt Christensen, FBI special agent Michael Carter took the stand while prosecutors played the nearly 40-minute video of a June 17 interview the alleged killer had with the FBI on June 17.

Among the topics covered were Christensen's whereabouts on June 9, the day Yingying Zhang disappeared from the UI campus.

Christensen said he was "stir crazy" and not in a good mood, so he went for a drive.

"I just drove around everywhere," Christensen said and was getting a bit bored when he saw Ms. Zhang. "She looked panicky," he said, so he offered her a ride.

Christensen said that when he was asked previously about Ms. Zhang’s disappearance, he legitimately didn’t recognize her as the girl he picked up because thinks all Asians look the same.

Also Thursday, Christensen's defense team made another motion for mistrial. They argued that a Wednesday redirect about the alleged 13 murders Christensen claims to have committed suggested the claim could be true when there's no evidence of them.

U.S. District Judge James Shadid denied the motion.

WDWS Reporter

Tim Ditman is a reporter at WDWS 1400-AM. His email is tditman@wdws.com.