PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – Closing arguments are set for the federal death penalty trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student charged with kidnapping and killing a 26-year-old visiting scholar from China. Monday’s closings follow a week and a half of testimony. If jurors convict Brendt Christensen, they must then decide whether he should be sentenced to die for beating Yingying Zhang to death with a baseball bat in 2017. Defense attorneys seeking to spare Christensen’s life have admitted he killed Zhang.
CHICAGO (AP) – Police say three people have died following a fiery crash in Chicago. The crash happened Sunday evening on the city’s west side. Police say two cars collided and one of the cars struck a pole, catching fire. Police say two people in the car that hit the pole fled and three others in the car were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other car had what were described as minor injuries.
ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) – An appellate court has tossed a gun conviction of a central Illinois man, ruling a lower court shouldn’t have allowed a Facebook photograph of him standing near guns to be entered as evidence. Illinois’ 3rd District Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of 29-year-old Spencer D. Watkins. Prosecutors entered the photo to show it was likely he had a gun and disposed of it before his arrest.
AURORA, Ill. (AP) – A car battery maker is working with Aurora to offer jobs to residents of the suburban Chicago city. Mayor Richard Irvin’s office says Clarios is hiring for two dozen second- and third-shift positions at a production facility in the Fox Valley. Pay starts at $15.50 per hour and can increase to $22 per hour. Openings begin in August. Irvin and Clarios will host a hiring event on July 17 at City Hall.