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6 jurors picked for Little Falls murder trial; one is NRA member


Six jurors have been selected so far in the trial of Byron Smith, the Little Falls homeowner who is facing first-degree murder charges after he admitted fatally shooting two teens who broke into his home in 2012, KSTP reports.

One of the six is a member of the National Rifle Association, who said he wouldn't hesitate to shoot someone who broke into his home, according to FOX 9.

Smith shot the teenagers, cousins Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady, 17, multiple times as they came down the steps to his basement on Thanksgiving night in 2012. Smith, 65, has argued that he fired at the teens defending his home from intruders, which is legal in Minnesota. Smith said his home had been broken into multiple times in the weeks before the incident.

But prosecutors say Smith crossed a line when he continued to fire at the unarmed teens after they were injured. Smith also kept the bodies in his house and waited an entire day before reporting the shootings to authorities.

Prospective jurors in Morrison County court answered written questions about their knowledge of the case and other subjects, including whether they owned guns, and several were questioned in the courtroom. That's when one of the jurors identified himself as an NRA member, according to FOX 9.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who is the lead prosecutor on the case, did not object to the man's presence on the jury.

"I would try this case in front of 12 NRA board members," Orput said, according to FOX 9.

The case has generated a great deal of public debate, and could serve as a test for how far Minnesotans may go legally to protect themselves against intruders.

Smith is free on bail.

Four women and two men were selected for the jury as of Monday evening, and the process will continue Tuesday morning. A total of 14 -- 12 jurors and two alternates -- must be chosen before testimony can begin, most likely later this week.

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