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White hunter convicted in death of Hmong man

MARINETTE, Wis. (AP) — A jury on Friday found a white former sawmill worker guilty in the shooting and stabbing death of a Hmong immigrant with whom he crossed paths while both were hunting squirrels in the northern Wisconsin woods earlier this year.

The jury found James Nichols guilty of second-degree intentional homicide in the death of Cha Vang, a case that had rekindled racial tensions in northern Wisconsin, where a Hmong deer hunter fatally shot six white hunters three years ago.

Nichols appeared to fight back tears as he left the courtroom with his arms folded against his chest. Pang Vue, the victim's widow, collapsed outside the courtroom after the verdict and was carried away moaning by a sheriff's deputy. A family member said later that she had fainted and was taken to a hospital, but she was expected to be fine.

"We are pleased with the verdict," said assistant attorney general Roy Korte who prosecuted the case. "I am sure it was a tough decision and we respect the verdict."

Nichols, 29, of Peshtigo, had been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, but the judge gave jurors an alternative of the lesser charge that carries a maximum 60-year prison term instead of life. Judge David Miron said a sentencing date would be set next week.