(Urbana, IL) — Defense attorneys for Brendt Christensen are admitting that their client killed Yingying Zhang. The admission came during opening statements yesterday in the kidnapping and murder of the Chinese scholar. Prosecutors laid out brutal details of Zhang’s kidnapping and murder in their opening statement. A group of attorneys, members of the public, and court employees listened to opening statements in the case involving the kidnapping and murder of visiting scholar Zhang in June 2017. Many were shocked to hear the defense admit during opening statements that Christensen had indeed murdered Zhang. The defense is pinning its case on the idea that Christensen was also a victim, in his case of a failed mental health system, alcohol abuse, and a failed marriage. Regardless of the outcome of Christensen’s criminal trial, he may face more legal action in a civil suit. Christensen was named along with two University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign social workers in a lawsuit being filed by the Zhang’s estate. The defense is claiming Christensen is the victim of a failed mental health system, alcohol abuse, and a failed marriage. Testimony also began yesterday and will continue today.