The Murder Trial of Byron Smith

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Good afternoon:

We are going to take a look at the Byron Smith trial, which is underway in Little Falls, Minnesota. Smith is charged with two counts of premeditated murder for shooting two teenagers to death in the basement of his home on Thanksgiving Day in November 2012. The prosecution claims he ambushed and killed them.

The two teenagers were Nick Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18. They were unarmed.

Smith claims that he feared for his life and was defending himself.

This case is unusual because Smith sat in the basement next to a table with a shotgun rifle and a handgun at the ready and he audio recorded the shootings. He waited until the next day to call a neighbor. The neighbor notified police.

Pam Louwagie of the Minneapolis Star Tribune describes the content of the audio tape played in court on Tuesday.

The Morrison County jury heard glass break, movement, then two shots as Brady groaned “Oh.” Smith responded with another gunshot, saying, “you’re dead.”

Almost immediately after Brady was shot, rustling of the tarp was heard, then a dragging sound, then heavy breathing. Smith had moved Brady’s body to a workshop in his basement to keep blood from staining the basement carpet, he later told authorities.

The audio continued with the sound of a gun reloading, then more deep breaths and the sound of footsteps — first getting fainter and then becoming louder again. A few minutes later, in a quiet, low voice, a female mumbled “Nick.”

Soon, there was another booming gunshot and the sound of Kifer falling down the stairs. Smith quickly said, “Oh, sorry about that.”

“Oh, my god!,” Kifer said, and screamed.

“You’re dying,” Smith responded amid more gunshots. “Bitch.”

After more heavy breathing and a dragging sound, Smith said “bitch” once more. Jurors heard more movement, and the crack of a gun.

/snip/

Testimony on Tuesday afternoon focused on the crime scene investigation, with Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators detailing the evidence they gathered at Smith’s home, including photographs of the teens’ bodies: Brady’s lay tangled in a camouflage tarp, Kifer’s lay with her bloody midriff exposed, knees bent, a black hoodie tied tightly around her face.

TOMO News prepared this animation:

Under Minnesota law, a person can use deadly force in self-defense under the following circumstances:

609.065 JUSTIFIABLE TAKING OF LIFE.

The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.

In other words, the use of deadly force must be reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in his house.

Since he apparently ambushed them, they were unarmed, and he finished both of them off with kill shots to the head after he had disabled them, there appears to be no doubt that it was not reasonably necessary for him to use deadly force to finish them off.

Crane and I find it very troubling that Hailey Kifer was found “with her bloody midriff exposed, knees bent, a black hoodie tied tightly around her face.”

This suggests a sexual assault post mortem with her hoodie tied to conceal her face so that he would not have to look at her.

If you appreciate what we do and have not already made a donation, please do so today.

Fred

28 Responses to The Murder Trial of Byron Smith

  1. Alyssa says:

    Just saw the show on ID. I say it was murder. He could of just shot into the air to scare them then call the cops while holding them at gun point but he CHOSE to shoot them even when they where unarmed. He claims Haley laughed at him after she was shot but on the recorder she was scared out of her mind. On facebook they say he’s a hero but a ‘hero’ wouldn’t shoot someone who was unarmed and inured and not quot ‘finish her off with a head shot’ AFTER she was down. That throws ‘self-defense’ out the window.

  2. M says:

    Morning All. This was murder ! He was hide ing in his basement he held his Gun too a Young Grils head. He knew what he was doing he was wrong. If those Jurry says not gilty then God will put this Man too death God is the top Judge. I’m hopeing Byron Smith gets the death moduf. I watch a lot of Law & Orders shows too know. He was in his 60 s he knew better these young Teens didn’t know ;-( ;-( ;-(

  3. Jay says:

    Her hoodie was tightly pulled around her face when. she entered the yard. The boy had his hood pulled as well. Smith had cameras in the yard. The kids saw at least one of the cameras because Nick Brady turned one camera so it would not record him. He stared directly at another. The girl was shot 6 times, the boy 3, the last through his outstretched hand. The Cousins entered the house even though they knew they were being taped, even though Nick had burglarised the house twice before. There are six hours of intermittant audio from that morning, so what you’re suggesting did not happen.
    Haille entered the house even though she must have heard gun shots.
    Smith moved his truck from the garage 45 minutes before the Cousins arrived. He also had a device in his kitchen which jammed cell phone transmissions. It would seem that Smith expected that someone would try to burglarize his home ona holiday and he would be ready for them.

  4. Seriously disturbing shit.

  5. dianetrotter says:

    How did he know that they were going to break in? If he was waiting in the basement, he must have anticipated the break in.

  6. A state trooper testified that he parked his vehicle in front of her house 3 blocks away from his house on Thanks giving.

    I suspect he parked there and left his lights off so that people would believe he wasn’t home.

    I think he also busted out the window so that kids would be certain he was gone.

    He set a trap.

    Then he waited in the basement and recorded what he did so that he could later relive it.

    • Brock says:

      How could you say you think he busted the window out to make them think he was gone? You can clearly hear in the audio the glass breaking before they enter his home.

      • I was mistaken about that, but not about him setting an ambush and executing both kids when it was not reasonably necessary to do that. The jury was offended by what he did and had no difficulty convicting him of premeditated first degree murder.

  7. colin black says:

    Breaking an Entering Is not a capital offence and the amount of stageing is not to be ignored.

    Not only did he over kill he over staged .From the audio but no vt its not possable to determine events unfolding.

    How about he acossted them an forced both into his home?At gun point.

    He could have staged the broken window at any prior time an then simply smashed a peice of glass whilst holding the youngsters at gun point haveing started tapeing.

    His entire afection words and actions reek of premeditated insane In The Membrane planed executions……………

    • Malisha says:

      This doesn’t sound like a maiden voyage to me. I’d guess this psycho has killed before. Tape recorder? “You’re dead”?

  8. girlp says:

    He certainly did not fear for his life. This sounds like something out of a thriller movie very distrubing.

  9. The defense attorney might want to tell him to wipe the smirk off his face. It is not helpful:

    Attorney Steven Meshbesher (left) and Byron Smith walk into the Morrison Co. court Little Falls, 4/ 24 at his trial. pic.twitter.com/oi0zvBxGkl

  10. UPDATE: Medical Examiner Takes The Stand In Byron Smith Murder Trial

    Read More: Neighbor Called To Witness Stand In Byron Smith Murder Trial | http://wjon.com/neighbor-called-to-witness-stand-in-byron-smith-murder-trial/?trackback=tsmclip

  11. The teens were criminals; this man is deranged. It’s frightening to see that he has a great deal of support.

    • masonblue says:

      Hi obitwriter, Crane-Station here (Fred will be back in a few minutes). I found it disturbing that he wrapped the boy in a tarp, but the girl- he tied the hoodie around her face, her legs were drawn up (bent up) and her bloody midriff exposed. Around here those actions alone are felony charges as follows: tampering with physical evidence or, in the alternate, abuse of a corpse. This is only my opinion and others may differ, but I believe he sexually staged the girl at the very least. Otherwise, he would have wrapped her in a tarp as well. She did not tie the hoodie around her face tightly, draw her legs up, or leave herself exposed.

      What did the man do for the day that he did not notify anyone? Film them? I wonder. Plus, by his own admission, according to articles, he engaged in overkill. Why? What sort of felony was he preventing, exactly, when he loaded a second gun, shot the girl twice more, in the head, and then again, totaling in all, six times?

      I wonder about these things, for real.

    • lyn says:

      I think he looks deranged too which may put him in the Mental Hospital for a long time. Those two shoulda been more careful about picking which house they broke into as should have been two other intruders in Detroit that were also killed by the homeowners. Never know what is on the other side of the door.

  12. bettykath says:

    I can understand his being upset at two teens entering his house but his response seems a bit over the top. Waiting for them with audio recorder?

    His alternative would have been to confront them with his shotgun and give them 30 seconds to leave the premises. They’d have been gone in 10.

    • lyn says:

      We don’t know that. They were two healthy young adults while he was an old tired worn out man. They could have overpowered him with ease and killed him. I am totally defenseless. The best to hope for would be a heart attack while they were doing what they wanted as they could do with many of us. Who would take a chance on that if it can’t be avoided?

      • Careful slinging that O-word around, Lyn.

        I’m older than he is and definitely not tired and worn out and there’s no way that kid could have overpowered a rifle and a shotgun, especially after being disabled by the first shot.

        Administering a coup de grace is not self-defense.

        He looks healthy to me in the video.

        • lyn says:

          Hi Fred, sent your donation. Well, I am tired and more worn out from living a life. None of us reach old age healthy.
          Hope you are well.

    • Malisha says:

      It occurs to me that these two might have entered his house to wreak revenge on HIM for something. Could it be that there is no prior relationship between the kids and the killer? Does anybody know the background?

  13. Diamonique says:

    I don’t see how they could possibly claim self defense in this one. Good heavens!

  14. Hello everyone, Crane-Station here. The judge in the Craig Michael Wood case has continued the preliminary hearing until May 21 at 1 PM. Craig Michael Wood is charged with first degree murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy of 10-year-old Hailey Owens in Springfield, Missouri.

    http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/d/story/preliminary-hearing-scheduled-today-for-craig-wood/69651/AE4QJJRABUa9iU2irUWpmw

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