Teen found guilty in beating, robbery of Hmong leader
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Teen found guilty in beating, robbery of Hmong leader

MERRILL, Wis., March 1, 2002, Friday

A judge convicted a teen-ager Friday of helping to beat, rob and take hostage the leader of a Hmong organization and his family.

Pheng Lor, 18, entered an Alford plea on seven charges - maintaining his innocence but acknowledging that prosecutors have overwhelming evidence against him. Lor confessed to the crime to Milwaukee and Merrill police officers, said Lincoln County District Attorney Shawn Mutter.

Lor was 16 in December 2000 when he and four others allegedly talked their way into the Merrill home of Abraham Yi Vang, 55, executive director of the Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Association.

Inside the home, the group brandished handguns and tied up Vang, his wife, Yer Vang, and their 7-year-old son, Christopher, as they ransacked the house, court records said.

They kicked and beat the Vangs, sending Abraham Vang to a hospital with a broken rib and bruises to his head. The complaint said they also stole 20 to 30 Christmas presents, jewelry, the family van and money.

Lor was waived into adult court in March 2001 and was found guilty Friday of armed robbery, theft, armed burglary, criminal damage to property, substantial battery, false imprisonment and vehicle theft. He could be sentenced to as much as 165 years in prison.

Two other men, David Cheng, 18, and Lue Her, 22, both of Milwaukee, are scheduled for trial in May on charges in the case.

Vang Her, 19, of Two Rivers, has not been scheduled for trial.

Ra Thao, 16, of Milwaukee, was waived into adult court and found guilty in May 2001 of armed robbery, armed burglary, criminal damage to property, and false imprisonment. He will be sentenced April 2.