By Shereen Siewert
A 16-year-old Wausau teen convicted in the February 2015 stabbing death of 13-year-old Isaiah Powell is asking for a new trial.
Dylan Yang was sentenced in October to 13 years in adult prison, in a case that attracted national and international attention. Yang was convicted March 18 of first-degree reckless homicide in the death; there is no question he stabbed and killed Isaiah Powell, a middle school student who had come to Yang’s house over a conflict that began on social media and spilled into a Wausau street.
Yang said he acted in self defense.
Harry Hertel and Sarah Harless, defense attorneys who now represent Yang, allege in court documents that Yang’s trial attorney provided insufficient counsel. Jay Kronenwetter, who was running for Mayor at the time Yang’s trial was underway, represented Yang until shortly after he was convicted.
Hertel and Harless accuse Kronenwetter of failing to inform or prepare Yang adequately for the trial. They also accuse Kronenwetter of failing to properly challenge Yang’s waiver into adult court, an issue that significantly divided the community.
Marathon County Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson received well over 100 letters from around the U.S. related to the case, many from people expressing shock and anger that Yang was tried in adult court and will serve his time in an adult prison. Yang was 15 when he committed the crime, but was tried in adult court due to a Wisconsin law that requires juveniles as young as 10 accused of homicide to be tried as adults.
Had Yang been tried in juvenile court, he would have received a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.
A notice of appeal was filed March 16. Future court dates have not yet been set.