Byron Smith must pay restitution to victims' families

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Byron Smith, who was convicted in the spring of killing two unarmed teenagers who broke into his Little Falls home, has been ordered to pay their families $21,000 in restitution, the Associated Press reports.

Smith, 66, is serving a life sentence in prison for fatally shooting Nicholas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, on Thanksgiving Day 2012 after they broke into his house.

A Morrison County judge ruled Tuesday that Smith must pay more than $9,570 to Brady’s family and more than $11,840 to Kifer’s family, according to the Associated Press.

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The families had asked for $42,000 in restitution to cover expenses such as funeral costs and mileage to and from court hearings, the Star Tribune reports.

Smith contested the original amount requested. At an August court hearing on the subject, he argued that because Brady stole items from his home previously, he shouldn’t have to pay restitution to Brady’s family. He also challenged the restitution he was ordered to pay to Kifer’s family.

Smith's trial brought to the forefront a debate over how far a homeowner can go to protect himself from intruders.

Prosecutors conceded the teenagers broke into Smith’s house on that day, but they successfully argued that Smith crossed a line when he continued to shoot the unarmed teens – even after they had been injured.

They also pointed out that Smith planned the killings and was in his basement lying in wait for the teenagers with two loaded guns.

Smith's attorneys contended that Smith was hiding in the basement because he feared for his life after a series of burglaries at his home, including one in which guns were stolen.

Smith is appealing his conviction.

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