CHICAGO (CBS) — Brendt Christensen, who was found guilty Monday in the kidnapping and killing of Yingying Zhang, spoke about harming others months before he killed Zhang.
Christensen agreed to a video recording of his initial assessment at a University of Illinois counseling center in March 2017. He told a counseling intern he’d gone as far as planning ways to hurt others.
“I was pretty far along,” Christensen said. “Not specific people. There’s probably a type I would have went for.”
But, he said he eventually abandoned the thoughts and never identified any victims.
Three months later, investigators say he lured Yingying Zhang into his car after she missed a bus, then kidnapped, raped and killed the visiting Chinese scholar. He faces a possible death sentence after a jury convicted him last week.
Christensen, a former U of I student, also told the intern serial killers had fascinated him.
“One in particular that fascinated me was Ted Bundy. He was literally the worst person I’ve ever heard of,” Christensen said.
A few days after the session, Christensen followed up with full time counselors.
Now, the administrator of Zhang’s estate is suing Christensen and those counselors. The lawsuit says their “incomplete treatment plan failed to treat Christensen’s symptoms … and the counselors’ indifference led to Zhang’s death.”
“I realized that it wasn’t even close to worth it. It was just very weird, and I don’t know why I was even thinking it in the first place,” Christensen said.
U of I said one of the counselors still works for them and the other left two years ago for a private practice. The university says they can’t comment on any student’s treatment, but they plan to defend themselves vigorously in court.
Christensen will be back in court on July 8, where a jury will decide if he will be sentenced to death.