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Yang withdraws motion for new trial in teen stabbing case

in Sirens

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — In a surprise move Tuesday, the 17-year-old Wausau teen convicted of fatally stabbing a 13-year-old boy withdrew his request for a new trial, according to court records.

Dylan Yang was convicted on March 18 of first degree reckless homicide in connection with the February 2015 slaying of Isaiah Powell. Yang, who was 15 at the time of the stabbing, admitted he killed Isaiah, but said he did so in self defense. The stabbing happened after a fight that began on social media spilled into the streets of Wausau.

In October, Marathon County Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson sentenced Yang to 13 years in prison.

Harry Hertel, Yang’s defense attorney, filed a notice of appeal Nov. 8 in Marathon County Circuit Court. In subsequent filings, Hertel accused Yang’s former defense attorney of inadequately representing Yang at trial, an assertion prosecutors later refuted.

At a hearing Tuesday morning, Yang withdrew the motion to appeal of his own accord, according to court records, and is no longer seeking a new trial.

Nia Phillips, the 19-year-old Wausau woman who drove Powell and his friends to confront Yang at his home, is serving a three-year probation sentence for her role in the tragedy. She was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

The case sent shock waves throughout the community and beyond. 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.

Yang’s former defense attorney, Jay Kronenwetter, tried to have Yang’s case moved into juvenile court but was unsuccessful in doing so. Had Yang been tried in juvenile court, he would have received a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.

Despite being tried as an adult, Yang is currently being housed at the state’s youth prison, Lincoln Hills, about 30 miles north of Wausau. He will remain there until after his 18 birthday, when he will be transferred to an adult prison for the remainder of his term.

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