A Peshtigo man is charged today with killing a hunter he met in the woods in a case that has rekindled racial tensions in northern Wisconsin.
Cha Vang, 30, was killed in a wildlife refuge near Green Bay earlier this month. Another hunter, James Nichols, 28, is charged with his murder. Nichols is also charged with hiding a corpse and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Marinette County District Attorney Brent DeBord filed a criminal complaint today. The complaint charges Nichols, age 28, of Peshtigo, with three counts: 1st degree intentional homicide; felon in possession of a firearm; and concealing a corpse. If convicted, the maximum penalty for all of the charges is life in prison plus 39 years. Nichols has been in custody since January 5th for violating the terms of his parole.
Vang's family has speculated that his slaying was racially motivated.
Vang's death rekindled racial tensions in northern Wisconsin, where a Hmong deer hunter fatally shot six white hunters two years ago. He's serving multiple life terms.
Nichols' fiancee, Dacia James, told The Associated Press that Nichols stabbed Vang after Vang shot at him in the woods. She says Nichols told her that he asked Vang to leave an area where both were squirrel hunting, they argued and that Vang shot at Nichols twice, hitting him in both hands. James says the two men then fought, and Nichols stabbed Vang.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says Assistant Attorneys General from the Wisconsin Department of Justice will be assisting the Marinette County Office of the District Attorney in prosecuting the charges.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)