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Thao returns to court in triple-murder case, as one defense lawyer withdraws



The suspect awaiting his second trial for a triple homicide at West Salem may need a new lawyer.

On Tuesday, attorney Corey Mehlos withdrew from the Nya Thao case, after serving on Thao’s defense team during a trial last June. The jury at the trial could not agree on a verdict, and Thao is scheduled to be tried again this summer.


Thao was one of the two suspects charged with the murders of three men at a quarry in July of 2021, over a $600 debt. The other suspect, Kham Rattanasack, pled guilty to a murder charge and was sentenced in January to life in prison.

The Tuesday hearing dealt with allegations of witness bias, made by the defense, and with questions to be asked of potential jury members. Thao is expected back in court in May, with the trial set for two weeks in August.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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