CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge overseeing the death-penalty trial of an ex-University of Illinois student charged with kidnapping and killing a visiting Chinese scholar says a jury should be in place by early next week.

Tuesday is the second day of jury selection at 29-year-old Brendt Christensen’s trial. Champaign’s News-Gazette says 29 potential jurors were vetted Monday.

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

The case has garnered enormous interest in China and among Chinese students in the U.S. Several Chinese diplomats are attending the Peoria trial.

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Christensen pleaded not guilty to charges he lured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang into his car in June 2017 as she headed to sign an apartment lease off campus, then tortured and killed her.

Yingying Zhang (FBI)

Judge James Shadid said Monday jurors would hear evidence of “kidnapping, sexual assault and murder.”

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