Skip to main content

Byron Smith files appeal of conviction for killing 2 Little Falls teens

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Attorneys for Byron Smith, the Little Falls man convicted last year of first-degree murder for killing two teenagers who had broken into his home, have filed a 51-page brief with the Minnesota Supreme Court outlining why they believe his conviction should be overturned, the Star Tribune reports.

The move was expected, as Smith's attorneys filed papers with the Supreme Court last June indicating their intention to appeal.

Smith, 66, was found guilty in April 2014 on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder for fatally shooting cousins Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17, after they broke into his Little Falls home on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Smith’s trial brought to the forefront a debate over how far a homeowner can go to protect himself from intruders. Smith had argued that he fired at the two teenagers to defend his home from intruders, which is legal in Minnesota.

But the jury agreed with the prosecution, which said Smith had planned the attack ahead of time and crossed the line by continuing to shoot the teens after they were already injured and no longer posed a threat.

In the brief filed Monday, Smith’s attorneys argued the presiding judge made several errors that prevented them from providing Smith a "complete defense," according to the Star Tribune.

They repeated an issue they raised after Smith's conviction – that the judge did not allow the defense to introduce evidence about the teens’ histories, including court documents that showed Brady had broken into Smith’s house and garage before.

The attorneys are asking the high court to vacate Smith’s conviction and either dismiss his first-degree murder indictment or send his case back to district court for a new trial, according to the Star Tribune.

Separately, Smith has been ordered to pay the families of the two victims $21,000 in restitution.

Next Up

police tape

3 at trauma centers in critical condition after rural MN attack

Two victims and the alleged attacker are in critical condition.

grinch neighbor

Neighborhood 'grinch' sends letter to Burnsville family over holiday lights

A Burnsville family's holiday decorations were the subject of an anonymous complaint.


Anthropologie shutters Grand Avenue store, opening planned for Rosedale Center

The popular holiday shopping weekend marked the last for customers of the Grand Avenue store.

hospital, emergency room

Woman found on side of highway after hit-and-run

The 41-year-old was airlifted to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Jorden Nicole Borders

Charges: Minnesota woman tortured her kids, removed boy's blood

Warning: This story contains upsetting content.

first snow

Will narrow band of 6+ inches of snow hit Twin Cities Tuesday?

The NWS says a band of 6+ inches is looking likely. It's now a matter of where.


Siblings, ages 19 and 14, killed in crash on icy MN highway

The crash happened around 1:15 a.m. Saturday in Carlton County.

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.