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Next court date Sept. 10 for suspects in La Crosse County triple homicide

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Khamthanet Rattanasack and Nya Thao

Khamthanet Rattanasack and Nya Thao

The next court date is a Sept. 10 calendar call for two men accused in a July 23 triple homicide in La Crosse County.

La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Gloria Doyle Friday set the date after only one of the defendants appeared with counsel.

Khamthaneth Rattanasack, 41, no permanent address, and Nya Kou Thao, 33, Holmen, are accused of carrying out execution-style shootings of Nemo Yang and Peng Lor, both 24 with ties to the La Crosse area, and Trevor Maloney, 23, with recent addresses in Cashton and Sparta.

Rattanasack and Thao each face three felony counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one felony count of a felon in possession of a firearm. They are being held in the La Crosse County Jail on $1 million cash bond.

The bodies of the three victims were found at the entrance to a quarry in the town of Hamilton. Prosecutors believe the homicides were triggered by Rattanasack’s belief that one of the victims had stolen $600 from him.

Rattanasack, through attorney Bernardo Cueto, waived time limits for a preliminary hearing.

“There is a lot we need to look into and investigate,” Cueto said.

Thao has yet to retain defense counsel and didn’t appear remotely from the jail. Attorney Chris Zachar represented Thao during a July 30 bond hearing and indicated that Thao was planning a defense strategy.

La Crosse County assistant District Attorney Emily Rudd said the scheduling of the two cases should “remain on track with each other.”

According to the criminal complaint, a witness told police Rattanasack ordered the three victims to get on their knees and crawl toward the quarry gate. The witness said Rattanasack then gave a gun to Thao, who shot all three victims multiple times.

The witness said Rattanasack and Thao allowed her to return to her vehicle and drive away from the scene. Authorities have yet to determine why Rattanasack and Thao spared her life.

From 2015 to 2016, murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates in the United States went up 8.4%, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Here is a look at the cities with the highest murder rates in the country.

La Crosse Tribune reporter Steve Rundio can be reached at steve.rundio@lee.net.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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