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Man who killed 2 Little Falls teens won't get new trial, MN Supreme Court rules


The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the double-murder conviction of Byron Smith, who killed two teenagers that had broken into his home.

Byron Smith was convicted and sentenced to life in prison 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 appealed the court's decision, arguing there were various errors that prevented him from getting a fair trial.

But the state Supreme Court affirmed Smith's convictions in a 57-page opinion released Wednesday, finding there weren't enough errors to warrant a new trial.

The Supreme Court did reverse the district court on an issue of restitution, finding the district court allowed Smith to challenge some of what he was ordered to pay to the victims' families despite missing a deadline. The Supreme Court says he'll have to pay about $19,000 more in restitution for the cost of the teens' headstones. (Read the Supreme Court's detailed opinion here.)

At trial, Smith, who had been the victim of robbery in the past, argued he shot at the pair to defend his property.

The case was widely publicized for the effects it could have on Minnesota's castle doctrine law, which allows a person to take a life in order to avert death or great bodily harm, or to prevent a felony in his or her home.

However, prosecutors said he waited for the burglars, and then acted excessively when he continued to shoot the teenagers after they were injured and no longer a threat. The incident was captured on Smith's audio recorder.

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