Discussion in 'Trials' started by liltexans, Jul 2, 2017.
Just had a post deleted because it was “depressing”. Didn’t see that as a rule violation.
By all indications, this was a horrific, random act of violence perpetrated by someone who is an aberration, if not mentally ill. Society has had to tolerate these aberrations forever. This is not about a community’s inability to keep someone safe or a reflection on the community at all. My concern is that someone will judge the community based on this terrible crime. BC does not represent the community I live in. He doesn’t represent any civilized community. However, I am concerned that we have inadvertently memorialized him along with his innocent victim. How many people in the years to come will search the Internet when they see the memorial? What will they find? Just as now, pages and pages about BC. I think that does her a tremendous disservice and the community that welcomed her. A fitting memorial to a scholar would be a scholarship, or a lecture hall in her name, not an engraved stone at the site of a horrific crime that will only serve to make people imagine what that day was like on that spot. She deserves better. Sorry if this is depressing.
I don't think anyone is judging the school or the community for a bizarre violent crime. When a community is hurt by an intruder who commits this type of violent crime the community often wants to "react" by performing an act of kindness or some beautification to both bring the community together to heal and remember the victim. There are plenty of examples of memorial gardens or stones or benches or parks. The community wanted to make this bus stop a place of peace and reflection instead of a barren reminder of a violent crime and frankly that's all that matters. I can't understand why this is in any way controversial.
I have nothing to apologize for, but there are those that think I do.
I hope you didn't think I meant YOU should apologize.... you are entitled to your opinions as well as everyone else. I was meaning the memorial garden itself could be considered a small gesture of kindness (or "apology?") to an international family, the least we can do for them. I know I am not wording this well ... I hope you understood my attempt.
I see your point about BC, but I do not think it will in any way memorialize him. I do wish we could find her remains, though. That is what makes me sad.
Maybe we can find the correct part of the U of I website, and all ask that a perennial flower be named for Ms. Zhang.
Paper letter snail mailed might be more effective?
Each one of us (in the appropriate zone) buys the plant. Proceeds to the scholarship?
Locals, who might we contact? (Not having any luck on the website.)
No matter what, whenever anyone searches for information on YY in the future, BC is going to come up. There is nothing you can do about this. Like it or not, he’s part of the story. Unfortunately, BC is the entire reason most, if not all, of us would ever know her name. Had he not crossed her path, most of us would have never even heard of her. She would have gotten her degree and moved on with the rest of her life, likely in the general anonymity that most of us do.
The fact that his name will come up doesn’t mean the community will be tainted by this memorial. He, like so many others, is just a transient resident; he was to be here for a time, then likely would have moved on after getting a job somewhere. Champaign-Urbana is no more responsible for his crap behavior than Madison, Wisconsin is. I think, instead, this memorial will do exactly the opposite. It will show how kind the community is. It will show how it welcomes people, and how it has deep concern for all those who come here to work and study -even those who are only here for a brief time....
Tuesday, October 16th:
*Pretrial Motions Hearing (@ ET) - IL - Yingying Zhang (26) missing on June 9, 2017 - *Brendt A. Christensen (28) indicted (6/30/17) on kidnapping (Federal charge) resulting in death of Yingying and 2 counts of giving false statements to FBI. Plead not guilty; DA will seek DP.
10/16: Responses to pretrial motions; 11/16: Hearing on objections to Juror questionnaire; 12/14, 17, 18 & 19: Hearing on pretrial motions & jury questions; 1/4/19: Submission of proposed jury questionnaire; 1/11: Jury questionnaire mailed; 1/18: Objections to jury instructions; 2/1: Conf. on jury instructions & selection; 2/8: Motion in limine; 3/1: Response to Motion in limine; 3/4: Motion to strike potential jurors; 3/11: Pretrial Conf.; 3/25: Final Pretrial Conf.; 4/2: Jury Orientation; 4/3: Jury Selection begins; 4/9/19: Trial begins, which should last about 5 weeks.
7/13/18 Update: Defense files Motion for Order Required Gov’t to Comply w/Rule 12(b)(4)(B), pursuant to 4th, 5th, 6th & 8th Amendments. Calls for evidence that will be used in case-in-chief @ guilty or penalty trial where evidence maybe subject to motion to suppress.
8/16/18 Update: Judge Bruce issued an order denying the motion by BC's defense team that the government provide documents detailing any communication between the White House and the DOJ or Trump and Xi regarding this case. Also denied their motion that the government provide more detail of the evidence they will use in support of the aggravating factors.
8/24/18 Update: 24 motions filed by defense. Motion filed re reliability of DNA & blood testing used, seeking to suppress evidence, dismiss the main charge against their client and declare the federal death penalty unconstitutional. In a motion questioning why this case is a federal matter, Christensen's lawyers disclosed more information about his search of abduction fantasies on a fetish website, a detail they say is "overblown, hyperbolic, and misrepresentative of the facts." Christensen's lawyers argue, that his phone wasn't used "to commit the kidnapping or in furtherance thereof," and therefore, federal prosecutors can't claim jurisdiction. Prosecutors have argued that Christensen's phone was an instrument of interstate commerce used in committing the alleged crime.
9/21/18 Update: Defense team have filed a motion asking for more time to decide on offering Atkins defense/mental health defense. Asked the Judge for a hearing on their request. If granted, it will likely mean the trial now set for April 3, 2019, would have to be pushed back.
9/28/18 Update: Motion for Change of Venue filed by Defense (to Peoria division).
Small tidbit of info from the court listener site.
In their response to the defense's motion requesting more time to file their Rule 12.2 (mental health defense) notice, the prosecution disclosed that the defense conceded that their Rule 12.2 notice would most likely relate to a mitigation presentation during the penalty phase. So, if found guilty, this would be used to argue why he should not receive the death penalty -they would not be trying to make an argument that he is not guilty due to insanity.
Edit: Also in that filing, it was disclosed that the defense officially gave notice that they would NOT be offering an Atkins defense, as most suspected.
A bunch of prosecution responses to defense motions filed today
First thing that jumps out: BC told a cellmate that he got YY into his car by telling her he was a police officer and showing her a badge....
Scanned through the responses filed by the prosecution tonight. Most of the text, as expected, involves citing of legal precedents to counter the arguments made by the defense in their various motions. There are a number of tidbits of information on the investigation that can be gleaned from reading them. Here are a few highlights of what stood out to me. This is by no means exhaustive, as did this relatively quickly and probably overlooked some things.
> It appears they still have no idea what happened to her remains -if he destroyed them, or if they are still out there and can be found.
>There is an excerpt of one of BC's conversations with TEB. Much more detail is provided on how TEB interacted with the FBI.
>There is a very brief excerpt of BC's interview with investigators on the 15th.
>The prosecution version of what happened when they executed the search warrant on his Astra on the night of the 15th is very different from the defense's version. For example, the defense states that agents rushed in en mass with flashlights on when BC opened the door, and shined the lights on a naked Michelle Christensen (MC) standing in the hallway, who then ran back into her bedroom. The prosecution version states that the agents filed in calmly after BC opened the door, and MC came out of the bedroom naked and stood in the living room as agents discussed matters with BC -and they asked her to go put some clothes on! The defense version says that as MC came out of her bedroom with a robe on, she saw an FBI agent and UIPD officer taking her husband out of the apartment, while the prosecution version says that after she came back out of the bedroom with a robe on, as agents were asking BC if he would consent to an interview, MC urger her husband to go with them to the interview. The defense version says that agents immediately began searching the apartment and taking things after BC left, while two agents sat down with MC to interview her -and that she did not give her consent to a search of the apartment until the agents were almost done searching. The prosecution version says that all but two of the agents left the apartment when BC left. The two agents interviewed MC, discussing a number of topics. MC then gave them permission to search the apartment and take items from it, at which point some agents were called back to the apartment to aid in the search of the premises. UIPD then executed a search warrant on the apartment later in the day.
>Virtually no information on what exactly happened to YY, except one sad (but not entirely unexpected) tidbit. In their response to the defense motion to strike all statutory aggravating factors, the prosecutors state that the "....United States intends to present evidence of torture and serious physical abuse to the victim that occurred prior to death."
Thank goodness, she doesn't 'stick by your man'.
UI scholar’s family to judge: Keep accused kidnapper's trial in Urbana
I’m super bored at work so am reading through some of the docs posted Tuesday. Of interest to me:
Some of the delay is the inability (?) of BC’s team to name a DNA expert to refute the forensics found in the bathroom and bedroom. They have retained a forensics firm, but have not named an expert. They have named an expert to challenge the cadaver dog’s findings. The US wrote their responses professionally and formally, but I sense frustration in their responses (JMO). They state that they are committed to the April trial date, but they argue pretty vehemently that they want to be able to prepare for cross-examination of these witnesses.
On a funny note, they seem to be mocking BC’s side (JMO!) as they actually quote his team as arguing for time because they can’t “buy the reports at Walmart.”
It has to be very rough to be a public defender in cases like this. The prosecution probably has a boatload of convincing evidence to show he tortured and killed her, and all the defense can do is grasp at straws, because he won't confess and give up the location of the body.
What is really interesting to me is the difference in the version of events regarding the search of the Astra and the apartment on the night of the 14th-15th (Docket numbers 100 and 147).
This part of 147 is wild... His wife walked out nude, declined to go put any clothes on when offered, and they had to ASK her to go put some clothes on:
"Around the time the agents entered the apartment’s entry area, M.C. walked into the living room as well. She was fully nude at the time. The agents asked her if she wanted to put some clothes on, and she initially declined. The agents then asked her to put a robe on during the time they were present."
I feel bad for his wife, and I really doubt she was involved in any of this, but that is just weird.............
My initial reaction was honestly how impressed I was by the thorough defense BC appears to be getting. I’m just a layperson, but it appears to me that they are pursuing every possible avenue they have to get him the best defense possible. Not only are there so many filings, but they seem so thorough. My impression is that they are doing the best job they can- I was impressed.
Also, as I was scrolling through the legal bases for these arguments, I thought it was interesting that some of the quoted precendents were from cases involving bin Laden and Kaczynski. Just caught my eye.
Thanks dm92 some very good reading there. Took a while but worth it. You're a star keeping us up to date.
Hanoi, I agree, they did seem to be mocking some of the complaints and requests. Had me chuckling in places.
Being a layperson as well, that's always what I think when I read the defense filings -I think they are being very thorough and presenting real challenges for the prosecution -but then the prosecution files their responses and they just seem much more solidly crafted, and appear to be, at least from my layperson standpoint, to be much better reasoned and have more legal weight to them. For instance, BC's defense wants to strike the aggravating factor of torture and severe physical abuse to the victim because it allows mutilation of a body after death to be considered as severe physical abuse, then the prosecution responds that it is moot because they intend to present evidence that there was torture and severe physical abuse of YY committed before she died, and oh, by the way, appeals courts and the supreme court have upheld that mutilation of a body can be considered severe physical abuse.
There are a lot of quoted precedents from high profile cases like you said. In the response to the change of venue motion, they quote frequently from Tsarnaev and Skilling (Enron).
If any of you are interested in more details but don’t have a ton of time, I’d say read this one:
It’s the Motion to Suppress the secret recording by TB/TEB, the girlfriend/ex-girlfriend. I found it FASCINATING- almost suspenseful!- and now I am left with so many questions!
-It says LE had surveillance for all of their interactions. How did they do that without being noticed? So stealthy!
-What were the listening devices used? Many of the convos were held on her porch; I wonder if something was bugged there.
-What was the relationship between TB and BC that made BC feel comfortable enough to tell her something so damning? He was arrested right after that last conversation.
-Was it total arrogance that led BC to discuss the crime at the vigil?
-It says TB had anxiety about her involvement. I cannot even imagine the nerves she must have felt the whole time!!
-I wonder if she will testify.