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Survivors of Fatal Deer Hunting Shootings have Conflicting Testimony

A trial in Hayward is filling in more details of the fatal confrontation in the woods of Sawyer County last November that left six Wisconsin deer hunters dead and two more wounded.

The two survivors testified this week that 36-year-old Chai Vang from St. Paul, Minnesota, opened fire on them after being confronted because he was trespassing in a tree stand on private property. From the accounts of Lauren Hesebeck and Terry Willers the hunters never realized how dangerous the incident could become.

Hesebeck says property co-owner Robert Crotteau insisted on talking to Vang himself after being told by radio by Willers that he had already gotten the trespasser to leave. Hesebeck says Crotteau and four others drove over on all-terrain vehicles ... and Crotteau used profanities in telling Vang he had to get off the property and threatening to report him to the state.

The other hunters didn't know Vang was a military veteran and expert marksman, or that he had a past citation for trespassing in Green Lake County in 2002. Vang contends the other hunters used racial slurs against his Hmong heritage and fired the first shot.

The jury will decide whether Vang should go to prison for six counts of murder and two of attempted murder. The case could go to jurors Friday.


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