abc
QUICK LINKS:

Byron Smith Murder Trial Evidence Released, Juror Says Audio Recording was Key

Updated: 04/30/2014 10:51 PM
Created: 04/30/2014 10:47 PM WDIO.com
By: Beth McDonough

Evidence has been released for public viewing following the murder conviction of a Little Falls man who shot and killed two teenagers during a break-in at his home on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

300-plus photos reveal the inside of Smith's home and his state of mind, "it's very clear cut that he planned this out, it wasn't just him being surprised by intruders defending himself," according to a juror, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

The pictures show close-ups of a rifle, loaded handgun, broken window, stairwell where the teens were shot, the floor stained with their blood, the surveillance system, the lifeless bodies of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer and the audio recording, "I don't see them as human," said Byron Smith.

The juror told KSTP, "the audiotape played a major role in everybody's decision, there was a lot of evidence on that audiotape."

We asked all of the jurors, six men and six women to talk with us. Only one agreed to, as long as we don't identify him. That's how sensitive the case was and how stressed he still is. "There were hang ups, one juror was hesitant to convict somebody on such a major sentence," said the juror.

The pictures represent only a part of the evidence. In a trial that's captured international attention. "It's a very unique case of a small community, the topic and issues hit home for a lot of people," according to Rhonda Bot, the Morrison County Court Administrator.

The juror went on to say, "it's a great burden, a ton of pressure, a major decision to send somebody to prison for the rest of their life."

After three hours of deliberation Tuesday, jurors convicted 65-year-old Byron Smith of premeditated murders of 17 year old Nick Brady and 18 year old Haile Kifer.

Smith set up a hand-held recorder on a bookshelf, which captured audio of the shootings, and had installed a surveillance system that recorded images of Brady trying to enter the house.

The audio, which was played several times in court, captured the sound of glass shattering, Brady descending the basement stairs and Smith shooting Brady three times. Smith can be heard saying, "You're dead." Prosecutors said Smith put Brady's body on a tarp and dragged him into another room, then sat down, reloaded his weapon and waited.

About 10 minutes later, Kifer came downstairs. More shots are heard on the recording, then Kifer's screams, with Smith saying, "You're dying." It's followed soon after by another gunshot, which investigators said Smith described as "a good, clean finishing shot."

Smith can also be heard referring to the teens as "vermin." Smith waited a full day before asking a neighbor to call police.

Smith claimed he was simply defending himself during the break-in at his home. Smith's attorney said he was fearful after previous burglaries. But prosecutors argued that Smith waited in his basement and intended to kill the teens. A total of nine shots were fired at Brady and Kifer.

Minnesota law allows a person to use deadly force for defense, but that action must be considered reasonable. Jurors found him guilty of both first-degree and second-degree murder charges.

Front Page

  • Peaceful Ferguson Protests Hit the Northland

    While chaos ensues in Ferguson, Missouri Tuesday, peaceful protestors in the Northland were asking for change both in Ferguson and closer to home.

  • Person Struck by Car at Minneapolis Rally

    A rally in Minneapolis over the events of Ferguson turned scary when a car hit a pedestrian.  A police spokesperson says the woman suffered minor injuries.

  • UMD's NRRI Minerals Lab: Testing Technology for the Future

    The scientists at UMD's NRRI Mineral Lab in Coleraine are working with technology called WHIMS, to see if they can use ore that now is considered waste rock by the mines.

  • 911 Outage Affects Ashland County

    The Ashland County Sheriff's Office says a 911 outage is affecting landlines in parts of northern Wisconsin.  If 911 does not work, people with an emergency can call the Ashland County Sheriff's Office at 715-682-7023 and select option 1.

  • U.S. Steel Building New Corporate Headquarters

    U.S. Steel is building a new corporate headquarters. Right now, the company has offices in a 64-story tower in downtown Pittsburgh, but the lease is up in 2017. After working out a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which owns the former Civic Center Arena property, they've made the decision to stay.

 

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Ashland; Iron
Expires: 11/27/2014 10:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Ontonagon
Expires: 11/27/2014 10:00 AM

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement