Minn. attorney general denies request to prosecute Little Falls man

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Due to the unusually high number of murder cases over the last year, Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf was looking for assistance in prosecuting the most recent high-profile murder case.

The St. Cloud Times says the Minnesota Attorney General's denied Middendorf's request to prosecute 64-year-old Byron Smith accused of murdering 18-year-old Haile Kifer and 17-year-old Nicholas Brady after they broke into Smith's home on Thanksgiving.

Middendorf tells the newspaper between 2007, when he became country attorney, and 2011, there were only three murder cases in the county. In the last 12 months, his office where he employs four attorneys, has seen nine murder-related cases.

A spokesperson for the attorney general says county prosecutors are well-positioned to handle the case given the evidence.

Smith asked for his bail set at $2 million to be reduced. A Monday hearing has been scheduled.

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