Lawyer helping slain Chinese scholar’s family follow trial

Ying Ying Zhang – Photo Champ Co Police Dept

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A lawyer for a Chinese family attending the U.S. trial of an ex-University of Illinois student charged with killing their daughter says he has been explaining to them how the American justice system works.

Wednesday is the third day of jury selection at Brendt Christensen’s federal death-penalty trial. A jury will begin hearing evidence in the slaying of Yingying Zhang next week.

Zhang’s parents and brother on Monday were in Peoria where the trial is taking place. Tuesday and Wednesday they watched a remote video feed at an Urbana courthouse near the campus.

Attorney Steve Beckett told Champaign’s News-Gazette proceedings he is trying to help the family “understand why things are happening.”

The case has garnered enormous interest in China and among thousands of Chinese students in the U.S .