LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Pao Choua Vue, who pleaded guilty to battery by prisoners, after the beating a witness in the Sara Hougom homicide case, was sentenced today.
Vue admitted to beating the witness while in jail last August. The witness had testified against Vue's cousin, also named Pao Choua Vue, who has already been sentenced in the Hougom shooting.
The prosecutor asked for the maximum of six years, citing Vue's criminal history, but Vue's attorney argued his client was seeking drug treatment in jail and straightening out.
Vue addressed the court and apologized for his actions and admitted he had a meth problem.
"I want to apologize to the victim," Vue said in court. "To be honest, when it happened, I wasn't really mad, I didn't care that he testified against my cousin in that homicide. I just got myself in a situation, a stupid situation, I couldn't back out of."
Also speaking on Vue's behalf was his sister, who asked the judge for probation and a stayed sentence.
"He does bad things because he's with bad people," Mao Vue said. "I as his only sister try to help him, make him understand that with him, hanging out with the wrong crowd, it doesn't bring him anywhere."
Judge Ramona Gonzalez said even if Vue is on the right track now, he has to be accountable for his actions. She noted the victim in the case told a sentencing investigator he just wanted Vue to get probation, but Judge Gonzalez said she thinks its because he is still scared of Vue.
"I respect his recommendation as the victim but I cannot go along with his recommendation because to do that would be to allow you something that you have not earned," Judge Gonzalez said during the sentencing. "You have not earned the mercy of this court because you showed the victim no mercy."
Vue was sentenced to five years, two in prison and three supervised release. He also was sentenced to two years probation in an unrelated case.
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