Minnesota Man Who Killed Two Teens During Robbery Convicted of Murder

Minnesota Man Who Killed Two Teens During Robbery Convicted of Murder

A Minnesota man who shot and killed two teenagers during a robbery ended up being convicted on Tuesday of premeditated murder. Byron Smith, age 65, had claimed that he was only trying to defend himself while the two teens broke in his home in the town of Little Falls, Minnesota back on Thanksgiving Day 2012. Smith’s attorney exclaimed Smith was fearful after numerous thefts.

However prosecutors contended that Smith was waiting in his basement and anticipated killing the teenagers. There were a total number of nine shots fired at Nick Brady, age 17, and Haile Kifer, age 18.

Jurors started deliberating on Tuesday morning and within only three hours had come back with a verdict. They found Smith guilty on two counts of both first-degree and second-degree murder. The parents of the teens sobbed as the verdicts were handed down. Yet Smith revealed no signs of emotion. His lawyer, Steve Meshbesher, stated he would file an appeal.

The two teenagers’ killings had caused deliberation around the entire state and also Little Falls, which is considered a Mississippi River city with a population of around 8,000 individuals and located around 100 miles to the northwest of Minneapolis, about just how far a homeowner could go in answering to a threat. Minnesota law does allow for deadly force to be used in order to stop a felony from happening in a person’s home, but that individual’s actions have to be considered rational under the situation.

Prosecutors explained that Smith set up a plan that started into motion the morning of the killings. After Smith noticed a neighbor whom he thought was behind the previous burglaries in his home drive by his house. It was next believed that Smith moved his truck in order to make it appear as if there was no one at home. He next sat down into a chair inside his basement and had a book, some water, a couple of energy bars and two guns.

Smith had also erected a hand-held recorder on one of his bookshelves. It ended up capturing audio of the shootings which would later become key evidence in the prosecution’s case. Smith also had put in a surveillance system which ended up recording images of Brady attempting to gain access to Smith’s home.

The audio recording was played numerous times in the courtroom and caught the sound of shattering glass. It next picked up the sounds of Smith shooting at Brady three times as he went down the basement stairs. Smith could be heard yelling, “You’re dead”.  Prosecutors then exclaimed that Smith placed Brady’s body on the top of a tarp and dragged him to another room. He next returned to his seat, reloaded his weapon and began to wait again.

It was around  10 minutes later that Kifer walked downstairs. There were more shots heard on the recording, then Kifer began screaming. Smith was heard as saying, “You’re dying”. There is another shot, which police investigators state that Smith called “a nice, clean finishing shot”.

The teenagers were both unarmed, but Smith’s attorneys argued that he was afraid they each had weapons. The tape was allowed to run, and it picked up Smith saying the two teens were “vermin”. He ended up waiting an entire day before he asked a neighbor to ring up the police.

Smith did not testify on his behalf. Meshbesher stressed about the prior burglaries which had happened on Smith’s property. There was one that happened on Oct. 27, 2012 which had included the stealing of weapons. One of Smith’s neighbors testified in his behalf and stated that Smith had come to his door after that break-in and seemed to be extremely frightened.

Meshbesher declared in his closing statements that the two teenagers would still be alive if they had not broken into Smith’s home. He also stated that Smith had a legal right to use deadly force in order to protect himself if he so felt the need.

Kifer was a senior in high school and Brady was a junior. The two teenagers were cousins. Court documents about the two teens which were not allowed to be entered as evidence showed that Brady had actually broken into Smith’s home once before. He and Kifer had also been linked to another break-in that occurred only one day before they were killed. In it there were stolen prescription drugs discovered in the car they were driving around in.

The judge of the case excluded this evidence about the teens’ histories from the trial because he stated it was irrelevant.

Byron Smith has been convicted of premeditated murder in the killing two teenagers during a break-in of his home.

By Kimberly Ruble


ABC News

The National Post

CBS News

25 Responses to "Minnesota Man Who Killed Two Teens During Robbery Convicted of Murder"

  1. Tony Down   July 26, 2014 at 5:42 am

    If the home owner did not have a gun, who is to say these kids would not have beat him, stabbed him, and killed him. At least he was able to defend himself and what was his. These kids are getting what they deserve. Now their parents are up in arms about the sentence and trying to save them. Maybe they should have put that effort into parenting properly and their kids would not have been robbing someone. They contributed to the kids murder (just like a drunk driver). THey have also ruined the homeowners life as he has this to remember for the rest of his life.

  2. ASDF   July 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Kids were wrong but this guy was even more wrong. What’s worse, a thief or a murdering psychopath? You try and avoid a scenario like this, not try and lure robbers to your home so you can shoot and then execute him. This guy is insane and gives a bad name to all gun-owners. Just be glad it wasn’t someplace like Florida and Texas and that justice was actually served here.

  3. Iddropthehammeronthisscumbag   July 9, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Bet you the teens parents would love to spend some quality time with this psychopath. If it was my kid he’d and his loved ones would be dealing with my .357, blowtorch and a pair of pliers! Scumbag deserves gang rape in prison!

  4. Terry Bryant   June 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Wow, past prescription drug theft charges and that was withheld as irrevelevent. So then kids on drugs don’t pose an extra threat on top of being thugs. So then when anyone breaks into your house multiple times people, make sure they are not armed before you shoot them, make sure they are not kids becasue kids on drugs are safe as long as you let them have what you have and just leave. Oh and make certain that your prosecuting attorney and the judge are not Liberal to boot. It is a sad day in our country when the illegal actions of two thugs lead to their death but it is the man defending his home who is at fault. How many times have we heard of the story being different. 65 year old man found dead in his home from multiple stab wounds because he was afraid to defend his home from criminals who might be children who were just playing a prank or somthing.

  5. Jason   May 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    If the kids names had been travon or jordon davis he wouldn’t even had been charged let alone convicted. They probably would have given him a medal. But since its poor halie and brady, he’s got to go down…That’s unfortunately just the way it is…..You dont kill white kids and get away with it. I dont care what they were doing…

  6. Jon   May 22, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Kurtis. You sound like a moron

  7. Lara Land   May 18, 2014 at 10:57 am

    My husband and I first learned about this case last night on Dateline and were appalled and disappointed that this man was convicted. We agree that if someone breaks into your house you have a right to kill them, and why the hell wasn’t all the evidence allowed? We just hope he gets off on appeal. We are Canadian so can’t do much to help but I hope his fellow Americans will start rallies and petitions and work to get this man freed. Of course in lily-livered Canada our politically correct laws would convict the homeowner but I hope in America people will fight for the right to defend their homes and to get this man, the real victim, freed.

    • Kurtis   May 21, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      This man belongs in prison. He wanted them to break in so he could kill them. As they lay dying saying they were sorry he executed them. Listen to the audio from his basement and his post-killing rant and tell me that guy isn’t psychotic.

  8. Lara Land   May 18, 2014 at 10:50 am


  9. kazvorpal   May 8, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    If someone forces their way into your home, you have a right to kill them, whether you enjoy it or not.

  10. BRAD   May 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Sounds like the Judge has an agenda.

    • katie   May 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      You mean the jury of this man’s peers? Judges don’t decide verdicts, juries do.

  11. Spencer Rhodes   May 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    To hell with calling the cops. If you invade my home, the only thing I’ll call the cops for is to remove your corps. Those little pukes got what they deserved. It’s not like they were children either. A person has every right to defend their home from invaders. Why should this Smith fellow be expected to cower in a closet with a telephone waiting for the police?

  12. Nameless   May 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    This guy messed up when he shot the first robber and didn’t call the cops.

    First degree murder is complete BS though. They broke into his house. Also, as someone else has already posted, there’s no telling how many knights this guy had to sit and wait for these little dicks to break in again.

    It was a recurring problem, the police could have prevented the final robbery by doing their jobs. Instead, they were probably parked out front of a grocery store protecting businesses while the normal people get their windows broken and their houses robbed.

    Like I said, he was a fool for waiting so long to call the police. I agree that he should be punished for essentially waiting for the robbers to die before he called. But he didn’t leave his doors open with a sign out front reading “Rob me, PLEASE!” First degree murder is beyond excessive.

    Those kids deserved what they got. Anybody who thinks they can wreck someone’s home and steal their belongings should expect to be shot at. Without that kind of deterrent it would happen a lot more often.

  13. David Williams   May 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

    you break into my house and I WILL KILL YOU! I don’t care if you are a teen, a cop, or anyone else in my house uninvited. How am I to know if you are armed? How am I to know your intentions? How am I to know that you won’t tie me up to a chair and beat me with your fists til I die??? This ruling is BS and I hope it is overturned in appeals. Your home is your castle and if someone invades it, kill them. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    • Spencer Rhodes   May 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      You know what? Intentions do not even matter. The very act of invading someone’s home is an act of aggression and an inexcusable crime. The resident of that home should always be justified in defending their home with deadly force. Invading someone else’s home has always been considered an act of war for the entire span of human history. It doesn’t matter if Smith was lying in wait, nor does it matter if he made it look as though he wasn’t home. That in no way excuses these little pukes from violating his home.

  14. Shari Peterson   May 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Why can cops wipe out pets and people and get vacations while it’s investigated and then they are found innocent of any wrongdoing but a man protecting his own home from vermin is found guilty of murder?

    As Futurama says, “The Future is Now.” And it’s a pile of CRAP.

  15. Emmasue   May 7, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    This was a total miscarriage of justice. This man had no way of knowing the break in had been planned for that night. Who knows for how long he had spent his nights like this. What was premeditated was that he should be ready to defend his home and his life from these habitual criminals.

  16. Terri Skidmore (@libturdhater)   May 6, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I’m sure the vermin were black which is why this man was convicted of murder. What’s wrong with calling the criminals who broke into his home “vermin” anyway? Many times there is no justice in the justice system. He should’ve just shot them, not taped it or said anything afterwards except that he stopped a breakin. Probably a bunch of dumb, liberal, bleeding-heart women on the jury, too.

  17. joe   May 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I don’t think he did anything wrong. If robbers break into your home, you should have the right to kill them. He shouldn’t have even been charged.

  18. lorkai   May 2, 2014 at 11:09 am

    If he new that they would break in why didn’t he call the police. He was judge jury and executioner for those children. Why didn’t he make them spend time in jail….

  19. divinity Love   May 2, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I am curious to know…if these kids were black..would he have received the same sentence?

    • theOne   May 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      How about you stop the race baiting already, you fool. It’s really getting old.

  20. betterplace   May 2, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Society and poor parents make excuses for bad behaved children.
    The more week liberal excuses, the more things like this will happen.
    If you allow a community to live scared of kids with no boundaries or punishment, like a dog with its back to the wall people will be forced to give out their own justice.
    Knowing that the kids would have been let off because of a sociological problem, or a uncle that liked to see them a lot, or a booboo they had as a kid.
    The man would have expected reprisals from angry teenagers let off from a poor system.
    So like a dog with its back to the wall, he went with the only outcome that leaves him with his possessions and no reprisals.
    I say this man should have been given all the money it would have cost his state for the court cases it would have cost for robberies in a 10 block area.


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