Vang's Defense

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Friday's funeral service for one of the six victims in last week's hunting tragedy may bring solace to family and friends of those lost, but questions about the prosecution of suspect Chi Vang will likely be next on their minds, especially after Vang hired three Milwaukee attorneys to represent him Friday.

Formal charges against Vang could be filed as early as Monday and when they are criminal defense lawyer Harry Hertel says finding a successful defense will be a challenge for Vang's attorney.

Hertel says in some cases, depending on the evidence, the most likely defense will be self-defense.

"Logically a defense counsel could argue once there had been the first exchange of fire he may he considered himself threatened, regardless of the circumstances, because of the number of people present and the uncertainty of whether they'd be armed or not,” Hertel says.

Hertel concedes, however, that the instance where Vang admits to chasing and shooting at least one victim in the back is certainly not self defense.

Hertel says in that case his attorney may look to Vang's mental as well as cultural frame of mind.

"How someone from the Hmong culture would view certain interactions in that situation and whether or not that would cause that person to reasonably view that situation in a fashion to cause a response different than the American culture might expect. That's not to excuse it or forgive it, but it might provide some understanding as to the mental process," Hertel says.

Hertel also says Vang's mental process will be particularly important because the shootings are all crimes of intent.

Hertel anticipates the defense will ask to move the case out of Sawyer County in order to seek an impartial jury.