Monday, September 19, 2005

GUILTY!!

Front Page Updated 9/18/2005 11:26:34 AM
Foreman didn’t believe Vang
The Associated Press




MADISON — The foreman of a jury that found a Hmong immigrant guilty of killing six white deer hunters said Saturday the man’s testimony that he acted in self-defense was not credible.Chai Soua Vang testified last week that he feared for his life after being threatened and called racial slurs and fired only after someone else shot at him first.Jury foreman William Bremer said in a telephone interview that Vang could have walked away after the hunters angrily confronted him for trespassing on their land in some isolated northwestern Wisconsin woods.After about 32 hours of deliberations and six days of testimony, the jurors found Vang guilty Friday of six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted homicide in a verdict that will send him to prison for the rest of his life.Bremer said he believed that the 36-year-old truck driver from St. Paul had changed his story in court and said there were other inconsistencies. Bremer said testimony showed Vang initially had told sheriff’s investigator Garry Gillis that one of the hunters he confronted had shot all the people.“The story he had told in court was not the first story he had told,” Bremer said. “I certainly kept in mind that he had opportunity to review other statements and other documents.”Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, who prosecuted the case, argued Vang gunned down the hunters in a rampage as they either watched in disbelief, were ambushed or were trying to flee. At the end of it, six were dead and two were injured. The victims included a father and son and a daughter of one of the survivors.Jurors did not address the media after handing down the verdict Friday evening in Hayward in Sawyer County.On Saturday, they returned home 280 miles south to Dane County, where they were picked because of publicity about the case and concern of anti-Hmong sentiment.Bremer, a 58-year-old highway engineer who does not hunt, said he was ultimately unsure of the role race played in the Nov. 21 confrontation.“Whether it would have happened if that was a white hunter or some other hunter, I have no idea,” Bremer said. “There was a lot of anger in the woods that day on both sides. But what caused that anger — the issue of trespassing was certainly very important. I don’t know.”

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