White hunter who killed Hmong man gets sentenced to 69 years in prison

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It really does make you wish that we could all resolve things better, because while you can be happy that the verdict came in guilty and the sentence is strong (as it should be) - James Nichols is being sentenced to 69 years - two families have to endure extreme loss, and a region that was supposed to be getting better, is still filled with racial tension:

Vang, a 30-year-old father of five, was found Jan. 6 in a wildlife refuge where Nichols had also been hunting squirrels. Vang had a 3- to 4-inch wooden stick in his clenched teeth, and his body was hidden in a depression covered with a log and other debris. An autopsy indicated he was hit by a shotgun blast and stabbed five times [...]

Nichols did not testify during his week-long trial, but the jury heard tape recordings in which he told law enforcement officials he acted in self-defense after Vang shot him. Nichols said the fight started after he told Vang to leave because he was interfering with his hunt.

Nichols said he ducked behind a tree and took a "wild shot" at Vang with a shotgun. Vang shot him again before Nichols rushed him, took away his gun and stabbed him in the neck with a pocketknife, he said. But Nichols also told authorities Hmong people are bad, mean and "kill everything and that they go for anything that moves."