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  1. #1
    whackthepack is offline Jersey Retired
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    Chai Vang case goes to the jury

    A Minnesota truck driver cannot reasonably claim he was defending himself when he opened fire on a group of hunters, killing six and wounding two others, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said Friday in the man's murder trial.

    But Chai Soua Vang's attorney told jurors the state cannot prove who fired the first shot. Vang had testified he started firing only after one of the hunters shot at him first.

    "In the courtroom, the tie goes to the defendant," defense attorney Steven Kohn said in his closing arguments during the sixth day of Vang's trial.

    Lautenschlager said Vang ambushed some of the victims and chased down one. She detailed how each victim was shot and the damage each bullet did to their bodies. She reminded jurors Vang testified he felt two of the victims deserved to die because they called him names.

    "The physical evidence and the witness statements speak for themselves," Lautenschlager said.

    Vang, who testified Thursday, said he fired at the group of hunters because he feared for his life. He said he fired at the hunters only after a shot was fired at him.

    Vang, a 36-year-old Hmong immigrant from St. Paul, Minn., said the shootings happened after one of the white hunters used profanities and racial slurs when angrily confronting him for trespassing in a tree stand used to hunt deer Nov. 21.

    He insisted he killed the hunters in self-defense, although the two survivors of the shootings testified earlier that only one shot was fired at Vang, and that was after he already shot some of the victims.

    Kohn said Friday the hunters' anger at Vang was driven by racial prejudice.

    "It really is the straw that stirs the drink. It is the catalyst," he said.

    He opened his closing arguments by telling jurors the trial was not about the Hmong community or Wisconsin's hunting culture, but about what happened when specific individuals confronted each other in the woods.

    Lautenschlager reminded jurors Friday how Vang testified he charged at the hunting group, firing.

    "It was the defendant who started the shooting. ... That's not self-defense. ... He was allowed to walk away," Lautenschlager said. "He was told they would report him to law enforcement. They didn't say, 'We're going to shoot you."'

    Lautenschlager said Vang had military training that taught him how to shoot people dead.

    Vang never said he actually saw any guns other than the one held by one of the surviving hunters, Terry Willers, she said.

    She said Vang ambushed two hunters who arrived to help their friends, and he chased Joey Crotteau down and shot him as he yelled for help.

    Before the closing arguments started, the judge gave jurors the option Friday of finding the man guilty on lesser homicide charges. Vang was charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted homicide.

    Sawyer County Circuit Norman Yackel told jurors they could reach one of three verdicts for each of the nine charges -- guilty of first- or second-degree intentional homicide or attempted homicide or not guilty.

    A first-degree intentional homicide charge carries a mandatory life term. If convicted, Vang would face up to 65 years in prison on each second-degree intentional homicide charge.

    The judge denied a defense request to give the jury the option of finding Vang guilty of an even lesser charge, reckless homicide.

    For the sixth day, the courtroom was packed with about 100 people, most of them relatives and friends of the victims. Vang, dressed in a business suit, sat at the defense table in front of about two rows of family and friends.

    Ten women and four men were picked for the jury, but after closing arguments two will become alternates and 12 jurors will decide the case. The jury came from Dane County because of pretrial publicity in Sawyer County.

    The judge gave jurors the legal definition of self-defense and told them that under the law, they must consider whether Vang had "opportunity to retreat with safety."
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

  2. #2
    ColoradoVike is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Chai Vang case goes to the jury

    at least he got away from the whole shamanism defense thing. still, his lawyers have had an ad hoc defense. All the argument hopping seems pretty suspicious. seems guilty....but how guilty? I have to believe that he thought he was acting in self-defense at first. But, you can't claim self-defense for shooting people in the back.

  3. #3
    smootpepper is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Chai Vang case goes to the jury

    I dont think the jury will rule self defense is this case. When Vang testified his first words were, those people deserved to die. There were rumors around that one of the poeple that confronted Vang had a gun, which from what I hear now are untrue and that all of them were unarmed. (anyone know if this is true?) This guy chased some of the men through the woods and shot them in the back. If he is found not guilty due to self defense I will be very dissapointed in the judicial system.

    Maybe the people that confronted him were bigots and racist, but does that mean they deserve to die? I dont think so.


    Edit: After rereading the 1st post I find myself to be an idiot.

  4. #4
    smootpepper is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Chai Vang case goes to the jury

    Verdict is in. He was found guilty of 6 counts of murder, and sentenced to 6 consecutive life sentences.

    After the verdict was handed, one of vangs friends was Chi Vang friends were telling the media "all the jurors were white and Americans."

    Ok, so whats your point, you want us to import people of other countries to pass judgement on him? And I dont think it matters what color the jury was, look at what he did and what he said on the stand. Argh, I see the race card coming because a white person was involved.

  5. #5
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    Re: Chai Vang case goes to the jury

    I'm glad for the verdict. I've been following the case, and it was obvious he was guilty

  6. #6
    ColoradoVike is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Chai Vang case goes to the jury

    I think that statement can be interpreted to say that Vang was not evaluated by jury of his peers. But that's something his lawyer should have addressed months ago. Needless to say, his lawyer no doubt advocated to have jurors who were not racially biased. It's unfortunate and underhanded to try to cast doubt on the decision by intimating that white jurors can't appreciate racism arguments. Anyway, playing a race card at this point is moot.

    Racial poltics or no, Vang killed six people. He is not guilty becuase he is Hmong, HE is guilty because he killed six people. This is not in dispute. While it is unkown who fired the first shot, that doesn't change the fact that Vang systematically killed them. Perhaps one could be excused in self-defense. But killing six people takes some planning.

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