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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

September 7, 2005

Written by C.N.

Hmong Hunter Trial to Start

As CBS News reports, the trial of Chai Soua Vang, the Hmong American accused of killing six Whites after a hunting confrontation in Wisconsin, is set to begin this week. In an earlier post, I commented that Vang’s defense is that he was subjected to numerous racial taunts and epitaths during the confrontation and that he only shot back in self-defense after one of the White hunters first shot at him.

The article notes that while the trial will be conducted in the same county as the shootings, the jury pool was moved to a different country due to publicity and “possible racial animosity,” which has many local residents upset:

Jury selection was moved to Dane County — home of the state Capitol and the University of Wisconsin-Madison — because of concern about pretrial publicity and possible racial animosity. The jurors will be bused to Hayward for testimony.

Some residents of the region wonder if they will get justice. Madison is vastly different from this rural, slow-paced area that is the home of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. “The guy admitted he shot people in the back,” said Larry Jarvela, mayor of Rice Lake, where the victims were from. “Some people are upset that they are going to bring all the liberals up from Madison for the jury.”

This trial has all the makings of a bad made-for-TV drama. In the end, even with the potential of a few more “liberal” jurors from Madison, I don’t think it looks good for Vang. As I noted in my earlier post, he may have suffered years of racial prejudice and abuse by Whites in Wisconsin and this particular incident was the last straw, but his reaction — especially how he shot several of the victims in the back — was extreme to say the least.

This case is a pretty sad tragedy for both sides.

On September 16, 2005, Vang was indeed found guilty on six counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Vang will now spend the rest of his life in jail with no possibility of parole (Wisconsin does not have the death penalty).

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Hmong Hunter Trial to Start" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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