Report: Vang may claim self-defense in hunter shootings

Hayward, Wis. (AP) – Attorneys for a Minnesota man accused of
killing six hunters in northwestern Wisconsin filed court papers
suggesting he may claim self-defense in his trial, a newspaper
reported.

Chai Soua Vang also won’t pursue a plea bargain to avoid trial,
his attorneys told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis last week.

Vang, a 36-year-old truck driver from St. Paul was charged with
murdering six deer hunters and wounding two others in a
confrontation over trespassing Nov. 21 in some isolated Sawyer
County woods.

His trial is scheduled to start Sept. 12 in Hayward.

According to court documents, Vang told investigators he shot
the victims because they called him names, disrespected him and
“shot at me first.” Survivors of the shootings told authorities
Vang fired first.

Vang’s attorneys filed proposed jury instructions in Sawyer
County Circuit Court last week. The instructions were made public
Friday and reviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The defense asked Judge Norman Yackel to instruct jurors on the
legal definition of self-defense. The instructions included the
following:

“The defendant is not guilty of any homicide offense if the
defendant reasonably believed that he was preventing or terminating
an unlawful interference with his person and reasonably believed
the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great
bodily harm to himself.”

One of Vang’s attorneys, Steven Kohn, declined to comment on the
defense strategy. He dismissed a possible plea bargain.

“This is not a case that can be resolved through plea
negotiations,” Kohn told the newspaper. “There is so much
disagreement on the facts that there’s no real middle ground, and
the charges as now alleged are not something you plead guilty to;
they carry mandatory life terms.”

Kohn also predicted attorneys and the judge will seat a jury in
a day or two after the trial starts. Yackel ruled attorneys can
select jurors from Dane County, about 250 miles from Hayward.

The defense had requested a venue change, citing publicity about
the case in Sawyer County and concern about possible anti-Hmong
sentiment in the area. Vang is a Hmong immigrant who came to the
United States from a refugee camp in Thailand in 1980 when he was
11.

Categories: Hunting News

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