Judge orders trial in killing, beheading case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Judge orders trial in killing, beheading case

WAUSAU (WAOW) - A judge Monday ordered that a 27-year-old man accused of killing and beheading a St. Paul, Minn., man stand trial after ruling he was competent to understand the court proceedings.

Kou Thao was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse in the killing of 58-year-old Tong Hang at a Wausau home last April. Hang was visiting family in Wausau, police said.

Hang's head was found in the trunk of a car that was reported stolen in Wausau and recovered in Milwaukee, where Thao was arrested, the criminal complaint said.

The prosecution had been delayed while doctors examined Thao to evaluate whether he was competent to assist in his own defense. At issue was whether Thao has cognitive limitations or suffers from a mental illness, a prosecutor has said.

Marathon County Circuit Judge Michael Moran found Thao competent Monday after attorneys agreed with the latest doctor's evaluation, according to online court records.

Thao waived his right to a preliminary hearing, moving the case to the next phase of him entering pleas to the charges.

No date for an arraignment was immediately set, court records said.

Wausau police said Thao shot Hang in the head in a Wausau basement and dismembered him, eventually hiding body parts under cushions in a Milwaukee house. A possible motive for the killing has not been made public.

Thao remains in jail on a $1 million bond.

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