Hmong murder trial in California: Defense tries the religious diversity ploy

The charming Tou Vang Xiong. Taxpayers paid for his upbringing and now the taxpayers will care for him in prison—probably for life!

Diversity is an excuse alert!

We need to understand that killing tigers is big, really big! in the Hmong spiritual world!  ‘Poor’ fellow just thought he was killing tiger spirits when he shot his girlfriend and her friend at point blank range after a methamphetamine party.

The jury didn’t buy it and on February 7th he was convicted on two counts of first degree murder, here.  Hat tip: Investigator par excellence ‘pungentpeppers.’  Emphasis is mine:

 After fewer than three hours of deliberation, a jury on Friday found an Atwater man guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with a 2009 shooting in west Modesto.

Tou Vang Xiong shot his girlfriend, Gao Sheng Her, and friends Nhia Yang and Lee Pao Yang at close range after the four had smoked methamphetamine in a detached room behind Nhia Yang’s family home in west Modesto. Gao Sheng Her and Nhia Yang died quickly from multiple gunshot wounds, but Lee Pao Yang managed to escape and survived.

Defense attorney Ruben Villalobos argued that his client was under the influence of methamphetamine and was experiencing hallucinations when he fired an automatic rifle at the victims. For those reasons, he told the jury Xiong should be found guilty of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, he said.

Hmong Shaman was called to testify:

Here is the report on how Tou Vang Xiong’s attorney brought in a Hmong Shaman to help explain that the slaughter was all the result of the religion he brought to America as a refugee at work in a drug-addled mind.  Note that the Shaman needed an interpreter (at taxpayer expense no doubt!).

 A Hmong shaman testified about his faith’s rituals and beliefs Tuesday in a trial for a man charged in the killings of two people shot at close range with an automatic rifle in west Modesto.

Atwater resident Tou Vang Xiong spoke of “killing two tigers” after shooting his girlfriend, Gao Sheng Her of Merced, and his friend Nhia Yang of Modesto, according to previous testimony from Yang’s sister. Xay Yang testified that “tiger” is commonly used in Hmong culture as a derogatory term for people they dislike.

Neng Yee Lee has been a shaman for nearly 40 years and began as a shaman in his native country of Laos. He has lived in the U.S. for eight years. He told the jury that shamans in the Hmong faith are able to help people solve problems in the spiritual world.

These spiritual world problems can manifest themselves as visions of wild spirits or warrior spirits, he said in court, and those spirits can harm people by creating illness, for example.

Lee testified that spirits can appear as animals, typically tigers, and even ordinary people can sometimes see these visions of spirits. “It’s not real tigers but spirits,” Lee said with the help of a court-appointed interpreter.

Shamans perform rituals to scare off these threatening spirits. They also perform rituals when people are born and when they die. Lee said he has not seen a spirit since he moved to this country, but others, even children, have said they have seen spirits.

“If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you,” Lee testified.

The Hmong shaman was called to the witness stand by defense attorney Ruben Villalobos. He has told the jury that his client didn’t think he was attacking his girlfriend and his friends that early morning.

Villalobos has argued that Xiong and those shot had smoked a lot of methamphetamine in the hours before the shooting. He plans to call an expert to testify about “methamphetamine psychosis” and the effects of the highly addictive drug on the brain. He is seeking a verdict that results in a charge less serious than murder.

Thanks to the US State Department, there are over 100,000 foreign-born Hmong in the US.  Most are from Laos.

Add one more refugee criminal trial to our list (from this post on Sunday):

***Just for fun I went to our ‘crimes’ category with its 1,396 posts to see how many criminal court cases we wrote about just since the beginning of the year (specifically involving refugees).  Too lazy to link them (you can find them in the crimes category by clicking here).

We had the Colorado Iraqi rapists, the Utah Burmese rape/murder trial, the Iowa Bosnian sex abuse case, the Illinois Sudanese murder retrial, Washington Somali rapist, New York Afghan welfare cheats, Florida Sri Lankan illegal alien trafficking case, California Somalis sentencing in terror funding case, Minnesota Somali woman sentencing delayed (terror funding), and the Nevada Chinese refugee ripping off the casinos!  All within the last seven weeks!

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