Little Falls Homeowner Charged in Fatal Shootings
Posted at: 11/26/2012 12:00 AM
| Updated at: 11/26/2012 9:37 PM
A 64-year-old man has been charged in the deadly shooting of two Little Falls teens.
According to authorities, Byron Smith of Belle Prairie Township is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Nicholas Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.
The Sheriff's office says Smith shot and killed Brady and Kifer after the two broke into his home.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel says they believe this was a burglary.
According to the criminal complaint, Smith said he was in his basement on Thanksgiving when he heard two people breaking into his home upstairs. He said he heard a window break.
He saw the first pair of legs walk down the stairs and shot the man, later identified as Brady in the legs. He then shot him in the face.
He dragged Brady's body on a tarp to an office room in the basement, and returned to his chair and sat back down.
A few minutes later another person came down the stairs. He said he shot the woman, later identified as Kifer.
Smith said he tried to shoot her again, and the gun jammed. He said she laughed at him, but 'It was not a very long laugh because she was already hurting.' He pulled out another gun and shot her in the chest and then under the chin.
According to authorities he told investigators, "If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again." He said he feared the two teenagers had weapons. Authorities say the teenagers did not have weapons.
Smith acknowledged he had "Fired more shots than (he) needed to."
Smith said he then dragged that body into the room where the other body was. He said he noticed the woman was still gasping, and he fired another shot.
Smith never called 911. He called a neighbor Friday morning asking if the neighbor knew any lawyers.
A neighbor contacted police Friday afternoon.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel says, "The reason Smith said he didn't call in right away was because it was Thanksgiving and he didn't want to trouble us on a holiday."
Authorities say when deputies arrived at Smith's home, he answered the door he told deputies he had shot the teens.
Right now Minnesota law allows the use of deadly force from inside your home if it's necessary. According to Wetzel, "This case went further than that. The law does not permit you to execute someone after the threat is gone."
The county attorney Brian Middendorf said, this is a controversial case. "I would not ask that people rush to judgment. Smith is entitled to a fair process."
Smith's bail was set at a $2 million unconditional bond or a $1 million bond with the condition he cannot leave the state, and would have to surrender his passport and guns.
There is at least one prior report of a break in at his home in October.
The next court date has not yet been set.
Authorities say this is still an active and ongoing investigation.