MILWAUKEE – The daughter of a Minnesota man accused of killing six hunters in northwestern Wisconsin said Sunday she was shocked to hear about her father's alleged crimes and called him a great person.
"He loves his family very much," Kia Vang (search) said at a news conference with her father's new lawyers. "I don't know what to say but the truth will eventually come out either one way or another."
Her father, Chai Vang (search), 36, is accused of shooting eight deer hunters Nov. 21 — killing six and injuring two — after a dispute involving a tree stand on private land.
Chai Vang, a Hmong (search) immigrant from St. Paul, Minn., told authorities the hunters surrounded him and used racial slurs before one fired a shot at him. One of the survivors said Vang fired the first shot.
Vang remained in jail Sunday in lieu of $2.5 million bail. He was expected to be charged Monday; an initial court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday.
Vang has retained three new lawyers, two of whom have previously represented high-profile clients.
Jonathan Smith helped represent former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura, who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 2001. His partner, Steven Kohn, represented Christopher Scarver, who killed serial killer Jeffery Dahmer 10 years ago at Columbia Correctional Institution.
Vang's third attorney, James Mentkowski, has represented many Hmong clients and has been involved with a church-based program in Milwaukee that helps Hmong immigrant families adapt to American culture.
Mentkowski said Hmong community leaders asked him to express their condolences to the families involved and the entire Wisconsin hunting community.
"The Hmong community recognizes the special place that the deer hunt holds in our culture," he said "They recognize these regrettable incidents have cast a pallor to some degree over the entire hunt."
Vang was previously represented by a public defender. Kohn would not say how the lawyers were retained, but he said they did not approach Vang's family themselves.
Kohn said he hopes Vang can get a fair trial in Sawyer County but would not rule out trying to get a change of venue.
Funerals for four of the six victims have already been held. The other two funerals were planned for Monday.