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Defense: Ex got Christensen drunk for information

The former girlfriend of the man accused of kidnapping a Chinese U of I scholar in 2017 was back on the stand Thursday in federal court.

Terra Bullis, who dated the defendant Brendt Christensen when he allegedly murdered Yingying Zhang, said she was just trying to help the investigation into Zhang’s disappearance when she agreed to record her conversations with Christensen.

The defense argued that during the conversations Bullis did what she had to to get Christensen to admit to killing Zhang. Bullis told the jury she as terrified when her boyfriend admitted to the crime and to killing 12 other people so to avoid raising his suspicions she stopped herself from reacting.

“It was me. She was number 13. She’s gone forever,” is what Bullis testified Christensen wrote in the notes app on her phone that day before deleting each line. She described him as “excited” when talking about the details about what he did to Zhang and about being a “serial killer.”

Bullis told prosecutors various times she did not believe her boyfriend to be drunk the day of Zhang’s memorial walk, when he told her about his crimes, despite them actively drinking that day.

The defense told Bullis she knew of Christensen’s drinking problem and did not stop him from drinking that day to get him to talk more. She said she did know of his problem but her intention was to help the investigation no matter the outcome.

Prosecutors asked Bullis about other times she and her boyfriend had gotten drunk in the past questioning if he had ever mentioned choking a woman for 10 minutes, hitting someone with a baseball bat or chopping off someone’s head. Bullis said he never had.

Prosecutors again played the recording of that conversation in open court on Thursday and as Christensen bragged about killing Zhang after 20 minutes of meeting her Zhang’s father held his head in his hands.

Christensen’s wife is expected to testify on Friday when court resumes.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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