MN Hunter Chai Vang's Trial About to Begin

Chai Vang, the Hmong immigrant from Minnesota who killed six hunters in Minnesota Wisconsin last year, is about to go on trial. Jury selection begins Thursday. The Chicago Tribune has a very detailed two part series on the case, beginning today.

Why would an ambitious immigrant, a healer, suddenly turn into a methodical killer? Did the alienation Vang experienced in America play a role in the shootings? Was the clash of cultures a factor?

Vang's lawyers initially said they may raise a cultural defense. That appears not to be the case now. It will be a self-defense case, hinging on who shot first:

Vang's primary defense attorneys -- Steven Kohn and Jonathan Smith -- ruled out a mental illness defense and a plea bargain because there was "no middle ground" in the case. They otherwise have declined to discuss trial strategies.

In a motion filed in Sawyer County Court, they asked Judge Norman Yackel to give the jury detailed instructions on the legal definition of self-defense, which legal experts said shows their likely course of courtroom action.

They asked that jurors be told: "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."

More current news and analysis on the case and Mr. Vang is here

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    Re: MN Hunter Chai Vang's Trial About to Begin (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:25 PM EST
    While Chai Vang is from Minnesota, the shootings occurred and the trial will be in Wisconsin.