Mother of slain Chinese scholar testifies

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The mother of a Chinese scholar who was kidnapped and killed by a former University of Illinois doctoral student has told a jury about the loss she feels.

Lifeng Ye’s video testimony was played Tuesday for the jury that last month convicted Brendt Christensen in Yingying Zhang’s 2017 death. The same jurors will decide if Christensen should be given the death penalty. Lifeng Ye spoke through tears of never seeing her daughter wear a wedding dress or have children of her own.

The penalty phase is expected to last several days. It’s not clear if Christensen will take the witness stand.

Prosecutors are urging the jury to recommend the death penalty. Defense attorneys say life in prison is punishment enough.