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Report says Vang told of suicidal, homicidal thoughts

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Chai Vang, shown here after being convicted of murdering six hunters in northwest Wisconsin, had a history of homicidal and suicidal thoughts, according to a psychiatrist's evaluation. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)

Milwaukee, Wis. — (AP) - A psychiatrist who examined Chai Soua Vang before his trial in the fatal shootings of six hunters said the Hmong immigrant had a history of suicidal and homicidal thoughts dating back two decades or more.

The report by psychiatrist Robert Rawski, obtained Wednesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, also said Vang believed the voice of an "evil shaman" has spoken to him occasionally since 1995.

"Typically the voice visits him once every two to three months, only when he is particularly angry at somebody who has engaged in a perceived transgression, and tells him to hurt or kill them," Rawski wrote in his report.

Vang, 37, of St. Paul, Minn., was found guilty last month at his trial in Sawyer County Circuit Court on six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted homicide. He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 8.

Vang contended he fired in self-defense after the other hunters who found him trespassing in a tree stand last November used profanity and ethnic slurs against him and fired a shot at him.

Two survivors of the shooting testified that Vang opened fire first, and that he had already shot some of the hunters by the time a single shot was fired at him.

Defense attorneys asked in August for a review of Vang's mental competency because of his apparent deterioration while held in jail awaiting trial.

Rawski examined him Aug. 19 and reported to Sawyer County Circuit Judge Norman Yackel that Vang suffered from symptoms of a moderately severe major depressive disorder but was competent to assist his lawyers in presenting his defense.

Rawski's report was unsealed by the judge late last week.

According to the report:

-Vang told of being verbally abused and kicked by his father after their family moved to the United States from Laos in 1980.

-Forced to marry at 14, Vang disliked the wife his parents chose for him. He got in a fight with her, and after his father tried to physically discipline him, he ran from home to the freeway and into traffic in an attempt to kill himself.

-In 2001, he pointed a handgun at his wife but didn't fire when his daughter stepped in the line of fire. He spent three days in jail but was not prosecuted. They divorced in 2002.

-While working as an over-the-road trucker, Vang would telephone his wife and get into fights, causing him to consider driving off the road to attempt suicide. He sometimes considered using his truck to run other motorists off the road if they had berated him for going too slow or being in their way.

-Vang's relationship with his second wife was hostile, and he said he choked and almost killed her in 2003 because she had gambled away money he borrowed for a downpayment on rental property.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)