Little Falls man shot teens 9 times, forensic pathologist says


A forensic pathologist testifying in the Byron Smith murder trial said the two teens were shot a total of nine times, both of them sustaining multiple gunshot wounds that by themselves would have been fatal, according to reports.

Smith, 65, faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of 18-year-old Haile Kifer and 17-year-old Nick Brady after they broke into his home on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. Smith has argued that he fired at the teens in defending his home from intruders, which is legal in Minnesota, but prosecutors say he crossed a line when he continued to fire at the unarmed teens after they were injured.

Dr. Kelly Mills, the pathologist who performed the autopsies on the two teenage cousins, testified Thursday and said Kifer was shot six times and Brady three, the St. Cloud Times reports. Her testimony was accompanied by several autopsy photos that showed the teenagers' wounds in detail, the newspaper says.

Mills says the gunshot wounds indicate Smith started shooting from a distance and then continued to get closer to the teenagers, KARE 11 reports.

Mills testified that all three gunshots to Brady would have been fatal, the Star Tribune reports. One gunshot wound went through his hand and into his temple from less than three feet away. Another bullet grazed his left thumb before going into his abdomen. A third shot went into his back left shoulder and through his back, Mills says.

Kifer was killed with the fifth gunshot, before the sixth "finishing shot," which Smith had described to police in the days following the shooting, FOX 9 says. She sustained gunshot wounds to her left eye, left ear, her neck under her right chin, her left abdomen and her left side. The shot into Kifer's right neck was a close-range shot, with a "little bit of separation from muzzle to skin," Mills said, according to the Star Tribune.

Mills also testified that Brady tested negative for drugs and alcohol, while Kilfer's blood tested positive for marijuana and cough suppressant, KARE 11 says.

Earlier this week, prosecutors played jurors audio recordings Smith made of the shootings. He can be heard calling the teenagers "vermin."

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