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Not guilty: Plea of deer-hunter killer

4/28/2005

HAYWARD, Wis. — A man accused of shooting six fellow deer
hunters to death and wounding two others after he was caught
trespassing in the woods pleaded not guilty recently.

Chai Soua Vang, 36, waived his right to a preliminary hearing
and will stand trial on six counts of murder and three of attempted
murder. A judge set a trial date of Sept. 12.

Vang's lawyer, Steven Kohn, said the defense was considering
whether Vang should change his plea to not guilty by reason of
insanity. Kohn would not elaborate.

The gunfire broke out Nov. 21 after some hunters discovered the
Hmong immigrant in a tree stand — a platform used to watch for deer
— on their land.

Vang has suggested he acted in self-defense, telling
investigators the victims fired a shot at him first and berated him
with racist slurs.

The St. Paul, Minn., truck driver is behind bars on $2.5 million
bail. He could get life in prison. Wisconsin does not have a death
penalty.

Prosecutors added the third count of attempted murder Wednesday,
accusing Vang of two distinct attempts to kill one hunter.

Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, who is personally
handling the case against Vang, appeared in court as a prosecutor
Wednesday for the first time since she was elected in 2002.

The last case she prosecuted was the kidnapping of a 12-year-old
girl in the late 1990s, when she was a U.S. attorney.

She has said she wants to prosecute Vang because of her
"personal interest" in cases that involve crimes against people.