US man Brendt Christensen found guilty of decapitating Chinese woman

Brendt Christensen, left, was found guilty of all charges.
Brendt Christensen, left, was found guilty of all charges. Photo credit: AP

A US man has been found guilty of kidnapping a Chinese woman from a bus stop before brutally murdering her two years ago.

A jury this week found Brendt Christensen guilty of one charge of kidnapping resulting in death, and two charges of lying to federal agents. The body of the victim, Yingying Zhang, a University of Illinois Student, has never been found.

The trial at the Federal Courthouse in Peoria, Illinois, heard a conversation recorded by the FBI, Christensen spoke of how he choked, stabbed, and eventually decapitated the victim, after kidnapping her at a bus stop in 2017.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Christensen made a link between violence and sex when he began experimenting with BDSM in 2017, attorney Elizabeth Pollock said.

In his closing argument, assistant US attorney Eugene Miller said it was "always about murder".

Miller said Christensen considered the victim "an object".

"Although he raped her, this was not about sex, though he tortured her, this was not about BDSM," Miller said.

The jury will now decide whether 29-year-old Christensen should receive the death penalty.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Zhang family attorney Zhindong Wang said: "Their emotional stress has been, at times, unbearable.

"The jury's verdict of guilty in this case a step toward justice for Yingying and a step toward justice for Yingying's family."

The sentencing process for Christensen would take about a week and a half, US District Judge James Shadid said.