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Wisconsin man gets life sentence in 2021 killings of 3 men whose bodies were found outside quarry

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A man charged in the fatal 2021 shootings of three men whose bodies were found outside a Wisconsin quarry has been sentenced to life in prison.

A La Crosse County judge sentenced Khamthaneth Rattanasack on Monday to a life sentence specifying that the Wausau man cannot seek early release until he’s served 35 years in prison, news outlets reported.

Rattanasack, 46, pleaded guilty in October to one count of first-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop two other homicide charges he had faced in the July 2021 shooting deaths of Peng Lor and Nemo Yang, both 24, and Trevor Maloney, 23.

Their bodies were found outside the entrance of a quarry near West Salem, a village located about 14 miles (23 kilometers) northeast of La Crosse, which is along the Minnesota border.

Prosecutors have said Rattanasack believed that at least one of the men had stolen $600 from him.

Rattanasack and 36-year-old Nya Thao of Onalaska were both charged in the slayings.

A woman who had been with the three victims told police that Rattanasack told the three men to get on their knees before he gave Thao a gun and Thao shot them multiple times.

La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Elliott Levine described the killings as “senseless, ridiculous, God-awful, horrible acts.”

Thao’s case went to trial in June 2023 and ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors moved to retry the case, and Thao's second trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Aug. 5.