The trial of a white man accused of shooting and stabbing a Hmong immigrant to death began Tuesday in (the midwestern U.S. state of) Wisconsin. James A. Nicols allegedly killed Hmong immigrant Cha Vang in January, after the two got into a dispute while hunting for squirrels.
Nicols admits that he killed Vang, but his defense attorney told the court in northern Wisconsin today (Tuesday) that the killing was in self-defense. Nicols says Vang was yelling at him in a foreign language and shot him in the hand. Vang's family says he was a kind man who spoke no English and would not provoke a fight. An autopsy concluded that Vang was hit with a shotgun blast, stabbed multiple times and had a stick shoved into his mouth. When he was first detained, Nicols told investigators that Vang had been interfering with this hunt.
The case has heightened tensions between white hunters and ethnic Hmongs in eastern Wisconsin and brings back memories of a 2004 mass shooting of six whites by a Hmong hunter, who claimed the men had yelled racial epithets and threatened him.