HAYWARD, Wis. -- A Hmong man accused of killing six hunters and wounding two others said yesterday that he feared for his life as he was confronted for trespassing.
Chai Soua Vang, who came to the United States from Laos more than 20 years ago, said he began shooting after he thought one of the hunters shot at him and the others were going for more guns.
The 36-year-old truck driver from St. Paul, Minn., is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. He faces mandatory life in prison if convicted.
Yesterday, Vang said he was lost in the isolated Sawyer County woods Nov. 21, found a tree stand he thought was on public property, and climbed into it to get the lay of the land. He said Terry Willers approached him and told him he was on private property and should climb down.
As he walked away, Vang said he heard all-terrain vehicles in the distance and moved faster because he thought they were coming after him.
''I thought they were going to beat me or something," Vang said.
Vang said he tried to walk away and then looked back and saw Willers take the rifle off his shoulder and point it at him. He said he dropped to his right and heard a shot. He saw dirt kick up from the ground about 40 feet in front of him.
''In my mind, he shot at me and missed," Vang said.
Vang said he quickly removed the scope from his rifle and shot Willers twice.
Under cross-examination by Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, Vang was asked if each victim deserved to die. She held up a photo of each person as she asked the question.
Vang answered no in some cases and yes in others.
Closing arguments were scheduled for today.