UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.
Two Illinois State Police crime scene investigators testified Monday afternoon, detailing what they swabbed and seized at Christensen’s apartment June 15 and at Ms. Zhang’s apartment June 20.
Christensen’s apartment had a skull-and-crossbones-esque flag above his bed, except with the crossbones made out of guns. There were three stains on his bed — two larger ones and one smaller one that was more red. Each of those were swabbed for further testing.
The baseball bat Christensen said he hit Ms. Zhang’s head with was also swabbed because it glowed when sprayed with luminol.
They also found a knife in the utility room, but that apparently didn’t test positive for anything. Also found: baking soda on the utility room floor.
In her cross examination, Pollock noted that luminol doesn’t only glow when there’s blood, but also for feces and cleaning supplies.
The FBI analyst who did the further testing of the swabs is expected to testify Wednesday.
ISP also revisited Ms. Zhang’s apartment June 20, mostly to get a DNA sample from her toothbrush.
Pictures taken showed M&Ms and tortilla chips on her living room table, a refridgerator full of food, rice in a rice cooker, notes on her whiteboard, her Kindle and her journal on her dresser.
UPDATE: 3:15 p.m.
UIPD detective Eric Stiverson and FBI agent Brian Schenkelberg testified this afternoon.
— Stiverson questioned Christensen at the FBI office on June 15 and got him to change his story a couple times — from playing video games to driving around campus to picking up Ms. Zhang.
When this happened, Stiverson said Christensen was trembling, hands in his lap, eyes darting left to right, and his breathing changed.
The second time, Stiverson said it was like Christensen was hyperventilating. He was very pale and appeared to break out in hives, with red blotchy spots on his neck and face
— Schenkelberg interviewed Christensen on June 17, but went easy on him to try to get his side of the story.
At one point, Christensen said he nicked his finger in his Astra while cleaning it, causing it to bleed a little. But the FBI never found blood in his car.
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.
Among the testimony of a computer forensic examiner who went through Christensen’s relevant computer activity from February 2017 to June 30, 2017, the day he was arrested:
— On Feb. 6, Christensen downloads an academic paper on the minds of serial killers.
— On Feb. 25, he visits an article on decomposition of human bodies and downloaded the photos.
— On April 11, he creates a Fet Life account.
— On April 16, he googles "serial killer list America" and visited the Wikipedia page on the list of serial killers ranked by the number of victims.
— That day, he also downloads four images of bound and gagged women and placed them in a hidden directory on his computer.
— On April 17, he googles "flogging."
— On April 18, he visits Fet Life pages on perfection abduction fantasies and abduction 101, and googles abduction play.
— On April 23, he looks up knife sharpening on YouTube and Google.
— On April 28, he texts his girlfriend that he bought a bed restraint, blindfold and gag, "You’ll be the first to actually use" these on me, she responds.
— On April 24, he texts his girflriend that he wants company and asks her to describe what she thinks the most horrific act is. She said she finds torture and gang rape unpleasant.
— On April 25, he texts his girflriend that he’s drinking and driving past a cop, but that the cop won’t do anything. "I would never do anything so dumb I go to jail, though that would be very interesting."
— On May 30, he texts girflriend that he wants to "self destruct."
— On June 9, the day he picks up Ms. Zhang, at 6:31, he checks Reddit messages. At 6:44, he checks Gmail. At 11:34 a.m., he texts his wife. All his texts to his wife are redacted.
11:48 a.m. - Christensen sends his last text before kidnapping Ms. Zhang, and at 12:36, his phone starts using LTE. At 1:11 p.m., he receives a text from his wife.
At 2:04 p.m., he picks up Ms. Zhang.
At 2:37 p.m., he receives a text from his wife, and at 3:30, he texts her back, the first phone interaction he has after kidnapping Ms. Zhang.
At 4:53 p.m., he texts his girlfriend, "I’m exhausted."
At 9:46 p.m., he watches porn files from his hidden folder.
At 1:48 a.m., he plugs his phone in.
The next morning, his first interaction is at 7:47 a.m. on Facebook. He unplugs his phone at 12:48 p.m. At 7:28 p.m., he visits a Reddit page on Ms. Zhang’s disappearance. He also reads a News-Gazette article online and a UIPD Facebook post about Ms. Zhang.
After the FBI visits him June 12, he deletes his Chrome history the next day at 6:04 a.m.
UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.
Judge Shadid said he’d consider the defense’s motion to make the UI show cause for why it’s not in contempt for not responding to subpoena from Christensen’s attorneys.
FBI agent Andrew Huckstadt returned to the stand on Monday morning. He said the FBI can’t corroborate 13 victims claims, but that’s "not the same as saying it’s completely impossible. We’re continuing to investigate."
An FBI computer forensic examiner testified that browsing history was deleted on Christenen’s cell phone and that no relevant location data was recovered from it.
PEORIA — Brendt Christensen's lawyers appear to be in a standoff with the University of Illinois over access to records about his visit to the UI Counseling Center in March 2017, when he told counselors about his suicidal and homicidal thoughts.
In a Sunday motion, Christensen's lawyers are asking for the court to issue an order "directing the University of Illinois to show cause why it should not be held in contempt."
The defense served the UI a subpoena May 30 — four days before jury selection began — seeking "any written communication, note, document, or other recording concerning the assessment and treatment" of Christensen at the counseling center, specifically "correspondence between staff members" or between staff and other UI employees.
On Wednesday, the first day of Christensen's trial when his lawyers admitted he kidnapped and killed visiting UI scholar Yingying Zhang, the UI objected "to the Subpoena to the extent it seeks data or information protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, or any other applicable privilege."
While the defense said "some of the record... may ultimately deemed exempt," "the University is not free to make its own determination."
So the defense is asking U.S. District Judge Jim Shadid to require the UI to "show cause" why it shouldn't be held in contempt and that the documents be submitted to Shadid for review to determine which have to be handed over.
This issue will likely be discussed Monday morning during the fourth day of trial, when Assistant Federal Defender Elisabeth Pollock will continue cross-examining FBI agent Andrew Huckstadt.
During his testimony Friday, the prosecution played video of Christensen testifying at the counseling center and wire recordings his girlfriend made of Christensen drunkenly bragging about killing Ms. Zhang and 12 others.
As court wrapped up Friday, Pollock was trying to establish just how hard the FBI tried to corroborate Christensen's statements about 13 victims. So far, there's been no evidence to back up that claim, and neither the prosecution nor the defense has suggested it is remotely likely to be true.
The defense wants to use this to show that what Christensen said on the wire recording could be false and exaggerated.
While the defense has admitted Christensen killed Ms. Zhang, they're hoping to spare Christensen the death penalty by casting doubt on the prosecution's "aggravating factors," or reasons for the death penalty.
— That Christensen committed the offense "in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner, in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse."
The defense seems to be arguing that the "torture and serious physical abuse" Christensen describes on the tape can't be trusted since he was bragging and drunk.
— That Christensen killed Ms. Zhang "after substantial planning and premeditation."
In its opening statement, the defense made it sound like Christensen decided to kill Ms. Zhang only after he had hit "rock bottom" when his wife left for the weekend with her new boyfriend.
— That Christensen "is likely to commit criminal acts of violence in the future" because of "his expressed desire to be known as a killer; and his claims of additional victims."
Those two things come from the wire recording, which the defense is trying to discredit because of his drunkenness and outlandish claim of 13 victims.
— That Christensen's victim, Ms. Zhang, "was particularly vulnerable due to her small stature and limited ability to communicate in English."
In a cross examination last week of Ms. Zhang's professor, Kaiyu Guan, Pollock noted that part of the reason he hired Ms. Zhang was because of her English skills, even reading an email sent by Ms. Zhang written in good English. But Guan said her English skills were simply good for an international student.
The guilt phase of the trial could continue for the rest of the week.