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Sister of man who killed Chinese scholar: He was 'gentle'

Updated: July 15, 2019 09:51 PM

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The sister of a former University of Illinois student convicted of killing a Chinese scholar told a jury deciding whether he should be executed that he was a "very gentle person" who never raised his voice.

Andrea Christensen was the last witness that lawyers for Brendt Christensen called to the stand Monday. The defense plans to rest its case in the penalty phase on Tuesday.

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Earlier Monday, Christensen's mother, Ellen Williams, testified that the 2017 slaying of Yingying Zhang was "horrible" and she feels "bad." But she said it would be devastating if her son receives the death penalty.

Christensen did not testify.

The federal jury that found him guilty last month now must decide his punishment.

Rebuttal witnesses will be called Tuesday. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

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(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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