HomeSoutheast Asian AmericanHmong American Teen Convicted of Murder Withdraws Retrial Request

Hmong American Teen Convicted of Murder Withdraws Retrial Request

Wisconsin Hmong American teen Dylan Yang, who was convicted in the murder of another teen, has decided to withdraw a motion for a retrial, reports NBC News.

Yang, 17, was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide for fatally stabbing 13-year-old Isaiah Powell in 2015. Yang’s current attorney, Harry Hertel, filed a motion for a new trial in March, claiming that Yang’s first lawyer was ineffective. However, the motion was withdrawn this past week.

“We felt we really had a good case, but we also were stuck with the fact that we can’t make that decision. Dylan’s decision had to be binding,” said Hertel, saying that Yang had told Hertel to withdraw the motion for retrial this past Monday afternoon, a day before the Tuesday hearing. Yang will thus not be allowed to request a new trial down the line.

In 2015, following a Facebook argument, Powell and several friends reportedly showed up at Yang’s house with a BB gun. Yang reportedly stabbed Powell twice with a kitchen knife, Yang claiming defense of himself and a friend. The stabbing ultimately resulted in Powell’s death at a local hospital. Yang was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide and was sentenced to 13 years in prison and 17 years of extended supervision.

Yang’s case received support from the Hmong American and Asian American communities in the Midwest, on the basis of claims that Yang did not receive a fair trial due to a non-diverse jury and due to him being tried as an adult when he was only 15 years old at the time. Hundreds of people from Wisconsin and Minnesota participated in a “Save Our Children community peace march” in May 2016 to show their support for Yang. There is even a Facebook page entitled “Stay Strong Dylan Yang” in support of his case.

Hertel said Yang’s decision to not pursue a new trial was entirely his own, despite the fact that he is still a minor – if Yang had won a retrial, he would have been acquitted of the crime. However, losing could have meant a longer prison sentence.

“He felt […] that he should be punished for what had happened,” said Hertel. “In addition, he was concerned that going through the motion hearing would be stressful for both his family and Isaiah’s.” Hertel mentioned that Yang’s family disagreed with the decision to withdraw the motion but they understood Yang’s intentions to look out for them, reports WSAU.

“If we succeeded and we got a new trial, then there would be a financial burden for the family,” Hertel continued. “As well as the emotional burden of going through another trial. And that would apply also to Isaiah’s family, having to suffer through that.” He also said that Yang has currently served more than two years of his 13-year sentence.

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  1. RE: Hmong American teen convicted of murder withdraws retrial Request: If he was white he would have gotten community service.


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