Skip to main content

Trial of Little Falls homeowner who shot, killed 2 teens set to begin

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The trial of a Little Falls-area man who admitted to shooting and killing two teenaged cousins who broke into his house on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 is set to begin.

After months of legal motions and pretrial hearings, jury selection in Byron Smith's murder trial will begin Monday. It is expected to take several days, the St. Cloud Times says.

Smith, 65, faces two first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady, 17, who were shot multiple times by Smith in his basement. Smith has argued that he fired at the teens in defense of 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.

Smith admitted to police that he shot Brady after he entered his home. Smith is accused of dragging the boy's body into a workshop in his basement and wrapping his body in a tarp and then waiting for Kifer. Minutes later, Smith shot and killed Kifer as she walked down the stairs, court documents say.

Surveillance equipment captured video of the break-in, and a digital audio recorder caught audio of the shootings, according to court records. The criminal complaint against him says Smith can be heard taunting the wounded teens in between shots.

Smith acknowledged that he "fired more shots than I needed to," according to the criminal complaint.

Smith is accused of leaving their bodies in his house for a day before authorities were notified.

The jury will have to determine if, considering the circumstances, what Smith did was a decision "a reasonable person would have made in light of the danger perceived," the Star Tribune says.

The case, which has generated much debate, could serve as a test to how far Minnesotans may go legally in protecting themselves against intruders, FOX 9 notes.

Smith has been free since posting $50,000 conditional bail. If he is convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, Smith could face a mandatory life prison sentence.

Next Up

University of minnesota sign

U of M gives some students 50% off meals for September after complaints

Students have complained about an array of issues surrounding dining halls.


Gallery: Sprawling estate near Superior National Forest listed for $2.9M

The property has been in the same family for over 60 years.

Screen Shot 2022-09-27 at 2.51.49 PM

Surgery clinic proposed to replace 111-year-old farmhouse in Eagan

A developer is proposing to transform the remnant farm property.

Hurricane Ian

Why Hurricane Ian could be catastrophic in Florida

Hurricanes are the atmosphere’s biggest show of force and energy, and Hurricane Ian is no exception.


Suspect arrested after man and dog shot on St. Paul's East Side

The shooting happened around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.


Bemidji police appeal to find missing teenager

Tahlia Poitra was last seen Wednesday.


Crisp & Green owner launches new chain, with 12 MN locations planned

Steele Brands already owns and operates Crisp & Green and Stalk & Spade.


New vendor to open at Rosedale Center food hall

POTLUCK Food Hall offers a rotating collection of local restaurants and food retailers.


Woman charged in drunk driving incident that killed Minnetonka HS alum

Nate Stratton, 20, died from his injuries on Sept. 18.