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Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Murder

A Wisconsin jury has rejected hunter and Hmong immigrant Chai Vang's self-defense arguments in his trial for shooting six hunters. He was convicted of first degree murder and faces life in prison.

The crime rocked the north woods in part because four of the victims were shot in the back and all but one were unarmed, according to testimony. The slayings exposed racial tension between the predominantly white north woods and immigrants from the Hmong ethnic group of Southeast Asia.

Some background here.

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  • Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    meanwhile, here in va, a jury acquitted attorney john ames of murder for killing of his neighbor, by shooting him 5 times, 4 after he was laying on the ground. it was "self defense", or suicide, something like that.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#2)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    Um. Well, I know that's bull**it and normally the guy might have a chance in hell to be acquitted regardless of his race, but one of the key issues that the media has pointed out is that he's ex-military -- a trained killer. Ever seen con-air? I wonder if one can find a citation of the law that says different. Anyways, in any other case, the guy should be acquitted, though there is question as to whether he had to kill those hunters rather than wound them or something that the media doesn't mention either. Hell, I'm almost tempted to support this guy as a POW.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#3)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    The notion that shooting unarmed people in the back is not "self defense" is not novel. It's not usually self defense when white people do it, either.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#4)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    They were not unarmed. As the two survivors testified, they shot first. It was probably meant as a warning shot, but still it would been enough to mistake for a declaration of war.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    He was threateaned by white domestic terrorists with guns who were willing to call his death a hunting accident, if caught. They happened to be messing with the wrong guy and got shot instead. He was a Hmong shaman.
    Vang said the group of men surrounded him, calling him "gook," "chink," and "[expletive] Asian." He was afraid the men would attack him. He saw that Willers had a gun. In his statement to police, Vang did not describe how he felt about the shootings, but in a letter, Vang wrote, "I have done something to defend myself and my race." Later, in a call from jail, Vang said he feared the hunters were going to kill him. "I shot them because they shot at me first," he said. "I thought I was going to die." In Minneapolis, near Vang's house, a white supremacist group distributed fliers with photographs of the six dead hunters and the question, "Is diversity worth even one American life?"
    link

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#6)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:56 PM EST
    "They were not unarmed" and "they shot first" require a loose definition of the word "they". As mentioned here, only one was armed. Killing that one could be self defense if Vang's story is true and that one shot first. Not killing the others. If the others made racial comments or even threats, I don't think that is adequate justification. I can't even shoot somebody for just making threats in Texas, and the list of reasons I can shoot somebody is eerily long here. Nor can I shoot somebody for calling me "honky", "redneck", or "cracker". Especially if they are running away. As for those he shot in the back, he says he thought they were going for weapons, as mentioned here. Cops get to use that excuse, civilians don't. If Henry and Steve are threatening me, and Henry shoots at me, is it self defense to shoot Steve as he runs away? Be prepared with a link where somebody used that argument to avoid a felony conviction. I predict... somebody will accuse the cops of covering up the victims' actions.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    You betcha they would. Vang was from Nam. Northern Wisconsin woods, Sawyer County to be exact, during hunting season and no guns....I don't think so. White Supremetists Christian Identity is nearby.
    HAYWARD, WIS. -- Chai Vang's lawyers said in court papers Tuesday that negative attitudes against non-whites in Sawyer County would make it almost impossible for the Hmong immigrant to get a fair trial there on charges that he murdered six deer hunters and wounded two others.
    He was tried in Hayward WIS with an all white jury.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#8)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Vang's own testimony backs everything I harped on above, except that he claimed more than one -- not all -- of the people he shot were armed. He admitted that only one person shot at him. He admitted that not all of them were armed. He admitted shooting unarmed people in the back as they were getting away. Even if every cop, lawyer, jurist, witness, expert, and judge involved is a Klansman with a "white pride" tatoo on his forehead; the behavior Vang admitted to is evil and illegal. If real evidence comes out that his trial wasn't fair -- not just speculation based on the existance of racism in Wisconsin -- then I guess we'll have to let him go. That wouldn't erase the common sense interpretation of his own admissions: he killed people without just cause.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#9)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Oh ok. I guess that clarifies it a bit on the vagueness. I agree with you otherwise. Besides, did you read the quote in the article about an Hmong being among them? I had some following thoughts after rereading that a bit, and it sounds as if Vang is sending America a message that if you're white and if there's not a single non-white among you then that's an offense to die for. Quick. Where's the political correctors when ya need 'em? Feel free to censor me, but that's my exact thoughts on that particular line now that I think about it. Seriously Mr. Vang, are we now expected not to go out in public unless a "minority" -- as they're still called -- is at our side supervising us in a Big Brother fashion to make sure we don't do anything that you consider racist?

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#10)
    by Lww on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    So let me get this straight? Some in here are justifying mass murder as long as the perp is a minority and the victims are white males? If this was a white man and he shot six black people in the back would you think it was justified? Did you think Bernie Geotz was justified shooting the black muggers on the subway train in NYC? I doubt it. Fear and self-loathing in cyberspace.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#11)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Besides, did you read the quote in the article about an Hmong being among them?
    You mean this one?
    "All Caucasian, all American. Why can't there be one Hmong? Why can't there be one minority in there?"
    That was Pofwmyeh Yang, not Vang, talking about the all-white jury. It's not that an all-white group deserves to die, it's that an all-white group is a fishy jury for judging a racially-charged matter. Dayne county is 89% white, so I'd expect a statistically fair group of 14 (12 + 2 alts) to probably have a few non-white people. I don't think the whiteness of the jury invalidates the conviction, but I do think it's fair to worry about.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#12)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Dayne county is 89% white, so I'd expect a statistically fair group of 14 (12 + 2 alts) to probably have a few non-white people. I don't think the whiteness of the jury invalidates the conviction, but I do think it's fair to worry about.
    So we can't have all white juries anymore? Actually, I think that we need quit worrying about being PC and start worrying on matters that effect our ethnic community, like this, just like others have been doing for sometime now. Call it what you will. Somehow this seems like an old and tired argument for some reason. Hell we can't even convict our own without being racist somehow. I'd hate to break it to ya, but American law -- including the Jury system -- is based on Saxon tribal Law and whom better to enforce it than Saxon people? I really don't get this sort of revisionism; it's not making a whole lot of sense. Who's asking Mexicans to revise their juries -- should they have any -- of mostly Latinos in fairness of white people, negroes and others whom willingly break in cold blood? Almost no one. Who's asking the same for the Vietnamese, the Thai, the Japanese, and on down the list? No one. Hell in some of those places, they don't even have juries or real courts, but none of the political correctors seem to howl too much. It seems to be concentrated on this country alone.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    tried by a jury of ones peers, isn't that how it is suppose to go. Were the Hmong not to be trusted because they were once living in an enemy country.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#14)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Squeaky,
    tried by a jury of ones peers, isn't that how it is suppose to go. Were the Hmong not to be trusted because they were once living in an enemy country.
    The U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions specify "an impartial jury". Is there evidence that any of the jurists was not impartial? Simply being the same race as white supremacists is not evidence of partiality. Hmong make up only about 0.5% of the Dane County population (as of 2000, see here (PDF), page 60). And presumably they are non-citizens in greater proportion that whites. Based on that, I'd be surprised if a single Hmong was even called up for jury duty. Ensuring the presence of a Hmong on the jury would probably be illegal anyway, because it would require rejecting many other potential jurists simply for being the wrong race.

    to clear some misconceptions thought up in an attempt to find excuses, only Vang testified that the others fired first. the two he managed to not kill by shooting in the back indicated he fired first. He also testified that two or three deserved to die-surprising that the jury didn't credit that sensitive note. His family members, though, were proud of him-see Chicago Tribune.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    I followed the case from the beginning and still believe that Vang would be dead right now if he did not do what he did. His comments/admissions are qualified in my mind because of his non-english and culture gap, which of course is due to his lack of assimilation. Your comments would suggest that Vang should have pled guilty. Why did he maintain that he thought he was going to die if he did not do what he did? Given the situation up in N. WIS and their contempt for non english speaking gooks that are "trespassing", along with the consistent nod given to groups like Christian Identity by the police, I do not believe he got a fair trial.

    squeaky-he has been in this country longer than he was in the one he was born in. it fits your MO of finding a way to make excuses if the victim fits your definition of having deserved it. the end of the story is good though-he can have the rest of his life to assimilate in prison. by the way, given the pride his family and community expressed in this mass murdering psychopathic killer, who would want them around?

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#18)
    by Lww on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    Hey Squeaky, I recall the case of the young white girl I encountered in a seedy Washington DC stairwell one early morning. She was from WISCONSIN! She was what you'd call an "urban pioneer" who went into the lobby of her building and decided not to share the elevator with a black man at 3 AM. She went up the stairs and was followed and attacked. She fought off his sexual attack but was cut on her throat from ear to ear. When we got there ( I was on an Engine Co/ first responder) she was holding her artery to keep from bleeding to death. I know a fireman who was aquainted with her and I heard she gave up her pioneering and returned to WI. I think she wears scarves in the summertime to this day. Yeah Squeaky, only white people are the scum of the earth in your mind.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:58 PM EST
    LLW-crawl back into the hole you emerged from. Some of my best friends are white.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:58 PM EST
    Squeak writes:
    I followed the case from the beginning and still believe that Vang would be dead right now if he did not do what he did.
    From the article:
    Two survivors of the shootings testified that only one shot was fired at Vang, and that was after he had shot the victims.
    Your write:
    His comments/admissions are qualified in my mind because of his non-english and culture gap, which of course is due to his lack of assimilation.
    From the article:
    Vang, a truck driver from St. Paul, Minnesota, came to the United States more than 20 years ago from a refugee camp in Thailand….. He told jurors he was on the rifle team in high school in California and later served in the National Guard, where he was trained to shoot to kill. He also described himself as an experienced hunter.
    If he doesn't understand you cannot shoot people during an argument, and then execute them shooting them in the back after 20 years, when do you think he will? You write:
    He was threateaned by white domestic terrorists with guns who were willing to call his death a hunting accident, if caught.
    From the article:
    Lautenschlager 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," she said. Cross-examined by Lautenschlager, Vang was asked if each victim deserved to die. Vang answered "no" in some cases and "yes" in others.
    Squeak, this was a clear case of him trespassing, a heated argument and him losing control and killing. He’s lucky it didn’t happen in a state with the death penalty. Your bias is clear.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#21)
    by Lww on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:58 PM EST
    Hey Squeaky, some of my best friends are black. Racist.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:58 PM EST
    ppj-"the article" seems to figure big in your argument. And why is he lucky? My bet is he will be killed in prison.

    Interesting, interesting comments. As a white female hunter from Hayward, WI, a mere 40 miles from where the shootings took place, it amazes me what people believe who aren't even here and are only going on what is being fed to them from the media. As somebody who has been following this from the day the shootings occurred, the ones who are calling racism in this issue are the Hmong communities and the media. Yes, Sawyer County is predominantly white (however, with a large Native American population) so that makes all us white folk racist because not many other minorities live here? It's a shame the media has pegged us to be. Yes, the trial was held here.. shouldn't it have been? Most trials are held where the crime occurs. So the jury didn't have any minorities.. the last I knew juries are picked from a pool of people, race/sex unknown, and defense and prosecution can yeah or nay them. So, as it only took a few hours to pick the jury, obviously the defense team (white lawyers) felt comfortable with who ended up on the jury. The Judge opted for an outside jury to make sure Vang got a fair trial because of the media coverage we've been under. Now, if Vang was the hunter he claimed to be, he should be familiar with hunting laws and the area he was hunting in. When hunting on public property, you had better know where the private lands are. We have 40 acres and have had to tell tres-passers to leave, and we have our property well posted. Watching Vang's testimony I believe he knew exactly where he was. And, he had been hunting up in that area before. And if you find a tree stand affixed to a tree, you know that is not public land as that is illegal to do on public land. So, you climb up into it anyway to 'look around'? I guess if us 'white domestic terrorists' get angry when people blatantly disregard the laws of the hunt, then I guess we are in the wrong. If the white hunters got angry at Vang and said some racial slurs, I really don't believe it gave him the right to kill them. If one shot at him first, then he shot him, then that is self-defense. The second hunter shot at him in self-defense, but Vang kept shooting as the other hunters, all unarmed, came to their defense. I believe Vang probably could have threatened them with his gun and the unarmed hunters probably would have backed off, as they probably would have been wanting to help their friends. But the fact he kept shooting as they were trying to get away, is plain cold-blooded murder. Vang shot these fleeing hunters, several, several times. I don't care if Vang had the last name, Ying, Yang, Jones, Smith, etc., etc., etc., he is a murderer.. his race has nothing to do with it. If it had been a white guy who had done this, I would have the same opinion. I was an acqaintance with Denny, the hunter who died the next day, and even if he had said something which Vang found offensive, he certainly didn't deserves to be gunned down in cold blood. Vang's actions touched the lives of a lot of people, including his family. I feel sorry for his children as they will be without their father, but I for one am glad he will spend the rest of his life in jail. And yes, I do believe in the death penalty for certain crimes, it's just a shame WI doesn't have it.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:58 PM EST
    Squeak - Yes, I took the article and proved how outlandish your comments were. Hope that doesn't bother you too much. KitKat said it all.

    Vang is a lousy poster boy for injustice. Unlike a lot of people in prison for "victimless"/consensual crimes (like drugs), Mr. Vang's fate seems well-deserved. If you posit that at least some of our convicts deserve to rot in prison, Vang seems like a good candidate for that.

    To say that this was a unfair trial is nothing less that the misguided understanding of the law and how it works. In my opinion Vang should have been given the death penaty. As for the comments made by his daughter "That she is proud of what her father did, and that they deserved what they got"well I feel that he didnt get what he deserved. Now we the taxpayers have to support him while he sits and waits to die. The public is the one who was unfairly punished for Vang's actions. Shooting a man in the back as he is running away.. what a joke and then trying to say he was fearful of his safety? I'm proud to say that we finnaly have found a jury that can see through the smoke screen of the defense and see the facts for what they realy are. He is a a hot tempered man who over reacted and six people lost their lives over it, yes im sure racial slurs were said, but words never hurt any one. Much less put a person six feet under. For all you winey little liberals. get a clue as to the real world. Im just sad that there wasnt one more hunter to take out Vang before these people had to lose their lives to a man like Vang. He was tresspassing, told to leave, the option was there to walk away he chose not to, by doing this he became the agressor. He was hunting with a semi-suto assult rifle and had more than 3X the ammo needed for hunting. so take a look at the facts before you let your personal emotions have you say somthing that is incorrect. Sincerly A real hunter.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:00 PM EST
    BG69-what were the other "real hunter's" doing hunting w/o guns, besides running away? Sounds like Vang would have gotten shot first if a "real hunter" like you were there to protect the poor unarmed ones. Bet you would have gotten away with self defense plea, if it ever reached the courts.

    Anybody wondered what happens to the shell casing Willers and/or Hesebeck shot? All the bullet Vang shot were found. Strange, isn't it? Perhaps "they" cleaned all the guns so well, they even got rid of the only bullet that should have been left there. This makes me wonder if other evidence was in fact swept under too. I'm so tired of all those lies. No one is looking for the truth, just a closure to the case. If the verdict is just based on a feeling of whom to believe, rather than truth, then all three (Vang, Willer and Heisebeck) should have got the same judgment. I think the gods or God must be having fun, when they/he made us, giving us only enough intelligence to think of all the best way to lie, and kill each other but not enough to be fair and compassionate.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#29)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:00 PM EST
    Hiding spent cartridge from Willers's gun would just be silly, as Hesebeck has admitted firing once. Perhaps they just couldn't find it? It took two trips to find the shells that apparently came from Vang's rifle, which shows that the cops sometimes don't find everything. That some "hunters" weren't armed is only strange because they're all called "hunters" in the press. It was a big group on a get-together. If some or all wanted to do some hunting on the trip, that doesn't mean they're all armed at all times. Plus, as I mentioned above, Vang admitted that some of those he shot in the back were unarmed.

    KitKat had the best response out of all...and I have read them all. It reads: "Now, if Vang was the hunter he claimed to be, he should be familiar with hunting laws and the area he was hunting in. When hunting on public property, you had better know where the private lands are." Vang should have known the land, he should have known the language, and he should have known the laws. If not, he shouldn't have been there. It's a little known concept today in America that's called accountability. That's the bottom line. Let's examine how many ended up dead versus Vang? Who can possibly look someone in the eyes and justify that? Thankfully, no one I know.

    I sure that everyone has their opinion, and so do I. Regardless of being found guilty. I truely believe that if the jurors where from another place besides the state of wisconsin it would be a fair trial. Honestly can anyone say that they have not heard bits and pieces of the shooting?? I think not. Even if the jury was all white, atleast have them come from outside of the state of trial. Have you ever thought about what if, just what if he was telling the truth. You know that none of us where at the specific place except for the survivors and their side of the story versus his side of the story. 3 agianst 1 minority that might not have the chance to be in court if he did not shoot them. Regardless of this al they needed to do was go up to him politely and ask him to leave. Yes, he did trespass, but there is no need to be vulgar and use those kinds of languages. Didn't their parents raise them to be polite. At least this would stop them from ending up where they were. I have sympathy for both sides, but in all it's their fault for being rude, and yes it's his fault for pulling the trigger. Who wouldn't. Imagine if he even turnes his back, what would happen, him being shot. Well his family is limited in English, and after all the people of the county would pretend this was an accident, they thought they saw a deer. People remember stories can be twisted espeically if it was 3 to 1. We can have little white lies who has to know the real truth. In truth no on was there except them, and no one saw it except them. So think carefully before you make judgements of who should be what and who should get punished. In all if they can live with themselves and be burried with their lies then it's them. Remember god only takes those who are honest without sin.

    Re: Hunter Chai Vang Convicted of First Degree Mur (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:09 PM EST
    I guess that there is a lot of hatred for the Hmong in thems parts.
    I hope it sends a message to ANYONE (especially the Hmong-if the shoe fits) if you're hunting, or claim to be a hunter up there, you better know where you're at. Vang should've kept his mouth shut.
    or else... Wonder if any of em have never come home over the last thirty years. Sounds like espy66 and her ilk have their own rules and may be prone to take the law into their own hands. Thanks for the warning you, unlike your uncle sound like a savage.

    squeaky, where do you live, and how do you presume there is "hatred for the Hmong in thems parts." ?? (I won't correct your English or spelling-if you were trying to be sarcastic, you'll have to try harder.) And how do you figure I've "got my own rules"? You make some pretty bold assumptions, but can't back any of it up. I wouldn't expect much more from somebody who starts a post with "I guess", because that's all you're doing.

    This tragedy has affected all of us here in Minnesota and in Wisconsin. I don't think the woods are going to be the same this fall. You are not supposed to be scared about being shot by some kind of raging psycho when you are out hunting. I don't have any facts on this but I bet there hasn't been a murder in Sawyer in at least 20 years. I am positive that I will not be hunting any public land this fall because there is no telling what scared people with guns will do if there is any kind of misunderstanding. Here is a word of advice to hunters anywhere...as soon as you are in contact with another hunter in the woods, unload your gun and leave the action open or lean it on a tree. This makes the situation 100 times less likely to escalate. Guns are hunting equipment, they are not good for anything else. Anybody that points a gun at a person when they aren't in immediate danger of death is a moron and deserves to die. If one of those poor souls did fire a shot at Vang first, he deserved his fate but none of the others deserved anything. Vang is going to rot in hell either way but if you fire a weapon at somebody or in the general vicinty of somebody you have to expect a pretty extreme reaction. And BTW squeaky and all you other morons that keeps referencing some sort of White Supremacist group that apparently we are all members of because we are white and live in the woods. You can go to hell. You are probably more racist than the 10 pieces of trash that are members of that group.