PEORIA (WEEK) — Thursday marked the fourth day in the sentencing of convicted murderer Brendt Christensen. He is facing the death penalty for killing and kidnapping University of Illinois scholar Yingying Zhang.
Thursday afternoon lawyers argued over a witness called by the defense.
Christensen’s team wanted to hear from Dr. Pearson of the University of Illinois Student Health Center. They planned to have her discuss her diagnosis and treatment of Christensen in 2017 for mental problems.
Prosecutors called this preposterous, characterizing it as expert testimony.
In that case, prosecutors said Pearson should be be blocked from testifying because they did not have the chance to examine Christensen themselves.
The judge agreed and barred Pearson from testifying, citing the fact that Christensen’s lawyers withdrew a mental health defense and failed to properly notify the prosecution of the nature of Pearson’s testimony.