PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Attorneys for a man accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China say they could be ready for a trial to begin July 1.

A judge already denied a request from Brendt Christensen’s attorneys to delay proceedings until October but said he would be open to a reasonable proposal.

Brendt Christensen. (Courtesy: Macon County Sheriff’s Office)

Prosecutors are trying to prove Christensen kidnapped and killed 26-year-old Yingying Zhang in 2017. The trial was originally scheduled for September 2017. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Yingying Zhang (FBI)

Christensen’s attorneys said they needed more time to find a psychiatrist who could be ready for trial. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that defense attorneys say they’ve found a new psychiatrist who could be prepared July 1.

Prosecutors have until Friday to respond. A Monday hearing is scheduled to discuss the trial date.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.