By Lauren Linder
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) — A jury deliberated less than three hours before finding a 16-year-old Wausau teen guilty in the stabbing death of a 13-year-old. Dylan Yang was convicted of first degree reckless homicide in the 2015 death of Isaiah Powell. Court documents show both Yang and Powell were in rival gangs.
Nearly three dozen witnesses testified, including Yang during the five-day trial.
The jury of seven men and seven women including two alternates began deliberating around noon Friday.
Court records show Yang was offered a plea deal Monday morning before the trial began, but did not agree to the terms, allowing trial to move forward.
Investigators said Powell, a Wausau 8th grader, died Feb. 27, 2015 from stab wounds to his lung, liver and vena cava.
Witnesses said it started with arguments on Facebook. Investigators said Yang was sitting on the porch of his house with some friends when Powell exited a vehicle and began shooting a BB gun at them. When Powell started punching his friend, Yang went into his house, grabbed a knife and stabbed Powell in the back During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Lesli Pluster argued Yang stabbed Powell because he felt he was disrespecting him and his gang, and in doing so, he showed utter disregard for human life.
“By the time someone reaches the age of 15 he has enough common sense to know that driving a knife into someone’s back two separate times creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm,” Pluster said. “He went straight to stabbing Isaiah two separate times in a vital area of the body with a large knife. If Dylan had any regard for life he would have made sure Isaiah was okay before running back to the house,” she added.
But Yang’s attorney, Jay Kronenwetter argued Yang stabbed Powell to protect his own life and the life of his friend because he believed, Powell’s gun was real, and claimed the state was trying to sway the jury with sympathy.
“The state wants you to feel all the sympathy in the world for them while painting the one who had the gun pointed at him, as the monster,” Kronenwetter said. “The truth will lead you right to a verdict of not guilty, regrettable circumstance with tragedy, but not every tragedy is a crime,” he added.
But Kronenwetter’s argument did not hold up.
The trial was originally scheduled for two weeks, but testimony concluded Thursday after Yang took the stand in his own defense. His bond was revoked, and Yang’s sentencing date will be scheduled next Wednesday.
He faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.
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