Monday, August 07, 2006

News: Hunters' memorial to be dedicated

Nearly two years after a dispute over a deer stand that left six western Wisconsin hunters dead, a new Rice Lake park dedicated to the hunters has been completed.

Hunters Memorial Park will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Monday.

The park, at Whitetail Drive and Linden Avenue, was built with private donations and will be given to the city of Rice Lake.

North Builders Association donated labor, one of the two lots needed and some of the building materials. It also raised funds to cover other park expenses. Aspen Creek Services donated the second lot.

The cost of the park is estimated at about $250,000.

The 26,670-square-foot park will include a playground, covered patio, kitchen, grilling areas and a memorial to the hunters.

Chai Soua Vang, of St. Paul, was convicted of fatally shooting Robert Crotteau; his son, Joey Crotteau; Al Laski; Mark Roidt; Jessica Willers; and Dennis Drew on Nov. 21, 2004. Fellow hunters Lauren Hesebeck and Terry Willers were injured in the confrontation, which occurred after the hunting party discovered Chai Soua Vang trespassing in a tree stand.

Chai Soua Vang, a Hmong immigrant, testified at his trial last year that he shot the hunters in self-defense, alleging that one of them fired a shot in his direction after they shouted racial epithets and cursed him. The two survivors testified the defendant had begun walking away from the confrontation when he turned and opened fire.

After his conviction last September, Chai Soua Vang was sentenced to six consecutive life terms plus 165 years in prison.

Source: Twin St. Paul Pioneer Press

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