The suspect was in court Saturday morning. The State's Attorney read gruesome eyewitness testimony and, as WCIA-3's Megan Brilley learned, Huang's friends are having a tough time coping with the details.
"Like most other students, I found out about it through an Illini alert," friend Aaron Ho said.
Ho's phone started ringing, warning him of an off-campus homicide. He says he didn't think much of it until he realized his friend, Mengchen Huang, lived there.
"Everything went from bad to worse."
Police say 29-year old Yongfei Ci broke into Huang's apartment. He put duct tape on both Huang and her friend's mouth, then tied her friend down in the bathroom. She escaped out of a window and called police.
"She was involed with this and now has to deal with a lot of emotions dealing with this first-hand."
Police say Ci slit her throat and stabbed her three times. They found Huang face down in her own blood.
"Why would you do this? What did she do to deserve such an evil act?" Ho asked.
Police say Huang and Ci had a troubled relationship and some of her friends were scared of him. Police say Ci was away, taking a class in Rhode Island but came back to Urbana to confront Huang because he thought she was cheating on him.
"Even if he is a little weird, just trying to imagine he had this capability is scary."
Huang was a PhD student. Her friends say she was passionate about art and very involved at Vineyard Church. When they heard the news, they met to pray for her and the man police say ended her life.
"I pray forgiveness. I pray whatever rage we feel that it's justice."
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