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Prosecutor: Minn. Homeowner Lay in Wait for Teens

Updated: 04/21/2014 10:54 PM
Created: 04/21/2014 8:05 AM WDIO.com

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) - Prosecutors say a Minnesota man who killed two teenagers after they broke into his house had been lying in wait in his basement with a book, some snacks and two guns.

Opening statements are underway in Little Falls for 65-year-old Byron Smith. He's charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer in the small central Minnesota town on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

Smith has claimed self-defense. Authorities say he went too far when he shot them repeatedly.

Assistant Washington County Attorney Brent Wartner described the sequence of the shootings. He says Brady was descending the basement stairs when Smith shot him in the chest, then the back and finally in the head after he had fallen.

Wartner says Smith then waited for Kifer to come downstairs and shot her too.

Defense: Smith 'scared in own home'

A defense attorney says Smith was frightened after a series of increasingly violent burglaries.

Defense attorney Steve Meshbesher says Smith's home had been targeted by burglars who took valuables and guns. Meshbesher highlighted one break-in about a month before the shootings in which someone kicked in a door.

He says Smith was terrified and had begun wearing a holster and pistol around the house.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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