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Man kills 2 burglars in his house and is charged with murder?!?

Solo

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#1
HHhhhmmmm, admittedly there is probably more to this story than we're being told, but charging the guy with murder is insane.

Man kills 2 burglars in his house and is charged with murder?!?(link)


The recently deceased

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — The home of a Minnesota man held in the shooting deaths of two teenage cousins has been burglarized at least once before.

Byron David Smith of Little Falls told police he shot 18-year-old Haile Kifer and 17-year-old Nicholas Brady during a break-in Thursday. But authorities say his actions exceeded reasonable self-defense and plan to charge him Monday.

Smith's brother, Bruce Smith, tells the Star Tribune ( ) it was the eighth burglary at Byron Smith's home in recent years. http://bit.ly/WPRzYi

The only report the Morrison County sheriff's office has is for one break-in on Oct. 27. It shows Byron Smith reported losing cash, gold coins, two guns, photo equipment and a ring.

Bruce Smith declined to talk to an Associated Press reporter Monday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A Little Falls man faces arraignment Monday in the shooting deaths of a pair of teenage cousins who went missing Thanksgiving Day and whose bodies were found by police the next day in the basement of the man's central Minnesota home.

Little Falls school officials identified the victims as cousins Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady, 17.

Police on Sunday were holding Byron David Smith, 64, of Little Falls, who they expected will be charged Monday with second-degree murder.

Smith told police he shot the two during a break-in, but authorities have said his actions exceeded a reasonable self-defense.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that about 200 people gathered Sunday night for a vigil at Little Falls High School for Kifer and Brady. Mourners remembered both as athletic and friendly.

The newspaper also interviewed Bruce Smith, the suspect's brother, who said several break-ins had left his brother feeling vulnerable and afraid.

Family members of Kifer and Brady could not immediately be reached for comment.

Details about the shooting remained murky Sunday. Morrison County deputies visited Byron David Smith's home just north of Little Falls on Friday afternoon on a suspicious activity call, at which point, they say, he immediately confessed to shooting two people the previous day around noon. Deputies found the bodies in the basement.

Smith's brother told the Star-Tribune on Sunday that his brother was upset after the shootings and unsure how to react.

"Put yourself in his shoes after you shoot two people in your basement," Bruce Smith said. "How are you going to react?"

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said Sunday that Byron David Smith claimed the teenagers broke into his home. But Wetzel said circumstances at the scene led investigators, including some from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, to believe that his actions were in excess of simple self-defense.

Wetzel refused to release further details, including whether investigators believe that Smith shot the teenagers immediately upon finding them. Wetzel planned to hold a news conference Monday in Little Falls, where he said he would release a fuller picture of what happened.

"We do want to give the public a clear picture of what happened," Wetzel said. He said investigators were still actively working the case.

Kifer was a senior at Little Falls High School. Superintendent Stephen Jones said she competed in gymnastics and swimming and helped manage the boys wrestling team. Brady had attended the same school up through the previous school year, at which point he transferred to nearby Pillager High School.

Jones said the Morrison County Sheriff's Department notified him of the identity of the victims. Little Falls students have a scheduled day off Monday, but Jones said grief counselors will be on hand anyway, and students and their parents will be invited to come to school and talk about what happened. He said more counselors will be in place on Tuesday when all students return; Pillager High School also planned to have counselors available.

Jones said Brady had wrestled for Little Falls before transferring schools. "These were both friends to a lot of folks, involved in lots of activities and working their way towards graduation like so many other kids, trying to put their focus on the future," Jones said.

Few details were immediately available about Smith, whose home is in a secluded area north of Little Falls and near the Mississippi River. Wetzel said he was not previously known to the sheriff's department as a troublemaker, and his name doesn't turn up any previous convictions in a state criminal history database. The Star Tribune quoted a neighbor, John Lange, who said Smith was a retired security worker and volunteer Scout leader who cared for his elderly mother until her recent death.

"He's a really decent guy. I think he just snapped," Lange told the newspaper.

A Facebook page set up to mourn Kifer and Brady was getting heavy traffic on Sunday afternoon. Fellow students and alumni from Little Falls High School were planning a Sunday night candlelight vigil at the high school football field.
 

Twisted

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#2
Smith told investigators he shot 18-year-old Haile Kifer several times as she descended a stairway into his basement, and his Mini 14 rifle jammed as he tried to shoot her again after she had tumbled down the steps.

Though Kifer was "already hurting," she let out a short laugh, Smith told investigators. He then pulled out his .22-caliber revolver and shot her several times in the chest, according to the complaint.

"If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again," Smith told investigators, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday
Smith told investigators he was fearful after several break-ins at his remote home about 10 miles south of Little Falls, a central Minnesota town of 8,000 people. The sheriff's office had only one report of a break-in, on Oct. 27. Smith reported losing thousands of dollars in cash, gold coins, two guns, photo equipment and jewelry.

Wetzel said that while the shootings happened on Thursday, Smith waited until Friday to report the deaths, explaining that "he didn't want to trouble us on a holiday."

In the complaint, Smith said he was in his basement when he heard a window breaking upstairs, followed by footsteps that eventually approached the basement stairwell. Smith said he fired when Schaeffel came into view from the waist down.

After the teen fell down the stairs, Smith said he shot him in the face as he lay on the floor.

"I want him dead," the complaint quoted Smith telling an investigator.

Smith said he dragged Schaeffel's body into his basement workshop, then sat down on his chair. After a few minutes, Kifer began coming down the stairs and he shot her as soon as her hips appeared, he said.

After shooting her with both the Mini 14 and the .22-caliber revolver, he dragged her next to Schaeffel. With her still gasping for air, he fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint says.

"Smith described it as 'a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the complaint.

The next day he asked a neighbor to recommend a good lawyer, according to the complaint. He later asked his neighbor to call the police.
 
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Twisted

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#4
Apparently no castle law in Minnesota.
Minnesota law allows a homeowner to use deadly force on an intruder if a reasonable person would fear they're in danger of harm, and Smith told investigators he was afraid the intruders might have a weapon. However, Smith's actions weren't justified, Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said.

"The law doesn't permit you to execute somebody once a threat is gone," he said
 

Goldhedge

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#5
He should have never talked to the police before talking to his lawyer!


Now they have a slam dunk case that he confessed to.


Shooting them is one thing, but he executed them! A bit of an anger problem I see...:hmmmm2:

SSS
 

Solo

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After shooting her with both the Mini 14 and the .22-caliber revolver, he dragged her next to Schaeffel. With her still gasping for air, he fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint says.

"Smith described it as 'a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the complaint.
Yowzers :(:eek:! If that's true then I guess the murder charge makes more sense. Yes you should have the right to blow people away breaking into your home and fire until the clip is empty, but dragging their dying body around and then performing a kill shot is certainly not self-defense. Why on earth would the guy tell the cops that?
 

REO 54

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#8
You can't shoot poeple for property crimes,except in Texas I belive.Now if someone is threatening you with a TV over the head well all bets are off.
 

southfork

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#9
Minnesota law allows a homeowner to use deadly force on an intruder if a reasonable person would fear they're in danger of harm, and Smith told investigators he was afraid the intruders might have a weapon. However, Smith's actions weren't justified, Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said.

"The law doesn't permit you to execute somebody once a threat is gone," he said
The guy is 64 the punks were 17/18? The threat is not gone untill they are dead.
 

Mr Paradise

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#10
I have no problem with the initial shots, but the admitted Coup de Grace on a teenage girl is a little disturbing.

Then again, the homeowner was in a no win situation. Wounding them and calling cops would still get him charged with something (some politician or DA would make his bones) and the parents would sue the crap out of him for harming their babies.

He'd end up spending a year or two in jail and lose his home and savings to legal fees.

Castle Law :thumbs_up:
 

Dude

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#11
That's gonna shake up that town of 8,000. It's a pretty cool place. One of those towns with the old, clean buildings going down Main Street. Not enough lakes and too close to the Twin Cities for my liking, however.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#12
She had to have been high to stay there after hearing her buddy being shot... Unless she was just stupid and thought it was a practical joke.

As for the guy shooting, He might have thought there was a whole gang breaking in and did what he had to do.

You never know until it happens to you.

I do agree it was a bit harsh, but I cannot say I wouldn't do the same if my house was robbed many times and the adrenaline kicked in. In a kill or be killed situation, you don't have time to think or judge... you kill or be killed.
 

GOLD DUCK

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#13
She had to have been high to stay there after hearing her buddy being shot... Unless she was just stupid and thought it was a practical joke.

As for the guy shooting, He might have thought there was a whole gang breaking in and did what he had to do.

You never know until it happens to you.

I do agree it was a bit harsh, but I cannot say I wouldn't do the same if my house was robbed many times and the adrenaline kicked in. In a kill or be killed situation, you don't have time to think or judge... you kill or be killed.
QWAK,GOLDZILLA ,Puting the 22 under her chin and pulling the triger after the girl was down and shot is OVER the TOP and EXICUTION!:thumbs_down::vollkommenauf:

the DUCK :s9:
 

GOLDZILLA

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QWAK,GOLDZILLA ,Puting the 22 under her chin and pulling the triger after the girl was down and shot is OVER the TOP and EXICUTION!:thumbs_down::vollkommenauf:

the DUCK :s9:
I agree. I'm just saying that when you are in a life or death situation, you never know what you will do. Sometimes your adrenaline does your thinking for you. Hell, I'm sure you know that being in war yourself.
 

Alric

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#15
Even under the castle law he would probably still be charged for murder. Actually there is no probably to it, he would definitely be. Shooting something in the face who is crippled and gasping for air isn't self defense. It sounds like he murdered them out of revenge for them breaking into his house.

I strongly believe in individuals right to defend them self and their property, however I also strongly believe in the jury system. I have no sympathy for anyone who decides on their own to be the judge, jury and executioner of someone else. If all that stuff they are saying is true, he deserves to go to jail.
 

GOLD DUCK

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#16
I agree. I'm just saying that when you are in a life or death situation, you never know what you will do. Sometimes your adrenaline does your thinking for you. Hell, I'm sure you know that being in war yourself.
QWAK,GOLDZILLA,I suspect it was more along the line cold blood thinking that it is cheeper and better that they are DEAD :vollkommenauf: than CRIPLED for LIFE and able to use a LAWYER to realy rob the home owner!:ahhhhh::thumbs_down:

the DUCK:s9:
 

chris_is_here

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#17
When you break into another's abode, you should be ready to take the consequences.
I see no reason this man should have extended any mercy to these two hoodlums - had they lived, they'd have found some jew lawyer to sue the guy up the ying-yang and take his house from him. His only mistake was talking to the po-po.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#18
QWAK,GOLDZILLA,I suspect it was more along the line cold blood thinking that it is cheeper and better that they are DEAD :vollkommenauf: than CRIPLED for LIFE and able to use a LAWYER to realy rob the home owner!:ahhhhh::thumbs_down:

the DUCK:s9:
Could be. I have always heard that you should never let them make it out of the house or they might sue. Maybe he should have had something bigger than a .22 and the initial shot would have taken care of the problem without a coup de grace.
 

Po'boy

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#19
Even under the castle law he would probably still be charged for murder. Actually there is no probably to it, he would definitely be. Shooting something in the face who is crippled and gasping for air isn't self defense. It sounds like he murdered them out of revenge for them breaking into his house.

I strongly believe in individuals right to defend them self and their property, however I also strongly believe in the jury system. I have no sympathy for anyone who decides on their own to be the judge, jury and executioner of someone else. If all that stuff they are saying is true, he deserves to go to jail.
If it were the police who shot,wounded then killed a perp then it maybe easier to see for some that the perp never had a day in court guilty or not.
 

Argentsum

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#20
So this guy gets burglarized several times and guns down two folks that wanted to try their luck.

In your own home, thieves can break in and make you a murderer. What a world...

I'm holding a vigil for Mr. Smith.
 

Alric

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#21
I wouldn't take legal advice from people who go around telling you to make sure you murder people so you can't be sued. I also do not believe that murdering people is a justified tactic for avoiding lawsuits. Those are positions people hold when they basically don't consider a human life worth ****.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#23
I wouldn't take legal advice from people who go around telling you to make sure you murder people so you can't be sued. I also do not believe that murdering people is a justified tactic for avoiding lawsuits. Those are positions people hold when they basically don't consider a human life worth ****.

Sadly, the people who give out this shoot to kill advice are usually cops and lawyers. Unfortunately, in America criminals have more rights than victims. If the bums were not allowed to sue their victims, alot more intended victims might not feel the need to kill them.
 

Alric

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#24
Something you should always keep in mind is that you may go to jail no matter what happens. In a life or death situation, when the option is die or go to jail, going to jail is a clear choice. So you defend yourself and you kill the person and worry about the results after the fact. However when the choice is go to jail or pay someone 50,000 dollars the question becomes a lot more vague. Is it worth going to jail for the rest of your life to save 50,000 dollars? What about some other amount? What is your price on freedom?

That is why I don't want to get into that situation. I am not about to put a price on what my freedom is worth for me. If its death vs jail then I take jail every time. If its loss of money vs jail, I would probably take loss of money in most cases.
 
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#25
If a person willingly breaks into another person's home, imo, the exact intent of the break in does not matter. That intruder is a threat to the safety of all who call that place home.

That being said. A single shot fired at the threat, can be questioned. Why would a person scared for their life only fire one round?

If all the rounds of the gun are emptied into the intruder, not only is the intruder not a threat anymore....but the case for 'fearing for life safety' and self defense is more obvious. Reloading and executing someone who's not a threat, is murder. Straight up.
 

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If a person willingly breaks into another person's home, imo, the exact intent of the break in does not matter. That intruder is a threat to the safety of all who call that place home.

That being said. A single shot fired at the threat, can be questioned. Why would a person scared for their life only fire one round?

If all the rounds of the gun are emptied into the intruder, not only is the intruder not a threat anymore....but the case for 'fearing for life safety' and self defense is more obvious. Reloading and executing someone who's not a threat, is murder. Straight up.
I don't recall.
 

Unclad Lad

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#28
Wetzel said that while the shootings happened on Thursday, Smith waited until Friday to report the deaths, explaining that "he didn't want to trouble us on a holiday."
Call 911 right away, it's self-defense. Wait a day, it's murder.

Stupid is stupid.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#29
I guess it has come out that the guy supposedly had a clean record, but the girl was a known dope fiend according to another website.
 

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#31
The law in Minnesota is pretty clear. Self defense if you are in fear for your life or your immediate familys life. This guy made some serious mistakes, and if he made the statements he deserves what he gets. Sad state of affairs across the country, more and more kids feel empowered to go out and take things that aren't theirs.

If you break in to someone's house be prepared to get shot. 155k new background checks since the election. 155k more people that understand things arent getting better, they are getting worse.:beerglass:
 

Sport

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#32
Call 911 and then call your attorney. Always do this. Never speak to police in a situation like this without an attorney. With that out of the way, this guy went over the top when he executed the girl. It will open the insanity can of worms, but at 64 does it really matter?
 

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#33
Only once according to records. His claims of multiple burglaries with no report is just that.... A claim.
Possibly his brother could testify for him?

It seems as if he just lost it, no doubt his mental condition was lacking due to repeated breakins and maybe a defense for him.
 

GOLDZILLA

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#34
And the morals of the story are:

1) don't break into peoples houses.

2) .22's are for hunting. Buckshot/slugs are for property protection.

3) If you take out burglars either call 911 immediately or never.
 

Rusty Shackelford

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#35
155k more people that understand things arent getting better, they are getting worse.:beerglass:
My hunch is that internal analysis of that 155k will show prior gun ownership amongst the vast majority of checks. Don't count on lots of new owners.
 

Ishkabibble

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#36
If there was a functioning justice system, these kids might still be alive. It wasn't Mr. Smith that killed them, it was a system that didn't reform the teens after they last broke in and robbed the place. It was those cops and authorized agents of the people who did not pursue harsh corrective action. It was the parents, who clearly didn't take the prior thefts seriously enough. It was the kids, who decided it was better to be opportunists robbing their fellow man, than it was to earn an honest dollar and be reputable. It takes a village to raise kids right. These two died because the villagers did not do their duty.

As a people, we have become gutless wimps. If individuals don't respect others, they need a sharp kick in the azz, something that really smarts so they won't mess up again. Instead, our society provides a gentle slap on the wrist, or worse... a reward for the criminal at the victim's expense! All these comments about his risk of being sued if the kids lived... what a sick system we have, that would punish the victim of crime by not enforcing justice, one which often forces the victim to pay restitution to the aggressor. Such a flawed system affords little protection for either these kids or Mr. Smith.

Mr. Smith was not a wimp. What would happen to crime rates if his actions were the norm? The choice for criminal action would no longer exist because the high risk wouldn't support it. There would be less lives lost, not more. There would be less crime, not more.

It would take only a few dozen Mr. Smiths, exonerated before the masses on television and in media, to change the paths of most would be criminals. A few dozen deaths would save thousands. I'm game for letting the criminals become martyrs.
 

Ebie

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#37
If the police/gov't had not charged him murder, there would have been some flack.
Obviously the police want a clean story:
No 24hr delay in calling the police.
No use of a second gun after the threat was down.
No moving of the bodies.

Zimmerman moved the position of the hands of Trayvon Martin after shooting him (he spreadeagled them).
Zimmerman did not even realize that Martin was shot.
It seemed odd to the police that arms of a corpse had been spread eagled.
 

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#38
Threads like these are why I try to stick to the metals board on GIM. Is everyone here really that comfortable making a determined effort to kill someone for being on their property, without any other considerations? I'm armed, and I support self-defense, but based on the information available this guy went so far over the top it's absurd.

1. He shot at two targets without knowing who/what they were (fired when they came into view only waist-down)

2. He never made any attempt to identify the targets

3. The targets didn't demonstrate a specific physical or verbal threat

4. After the male was incapacitated from being shot with a rifle and falling down a flight of stairs, as well as probably visibly unarmed, Smith shot him in the head on the floor.

5. He moved a dead body in what now was a crime scene

6. After he shot the female several times with a rifle at close range, he stopped, drew a pistol, and continued shooting someone who at this point was probably visibly an unarmed, heavily wounded teenage girl

7. After the female was completely incapacitated and dying on the floor, he moved her into another room. Then shot her in the head despite her being so little of a threat he was able to drag her around

8. He didn't call the police for a day after a break-in, shooting, and two dead people

9. His statements to the police show that ensuring the intruders' deaths was his priority, rather than protecting himself or incapacitating them. He also didn't seem to feel the gravity of what just happened, considering bothering the cops on a holiday was a bigger problem than the two bodies in his basement

I'm sure to some of you it sounds very logical to make statements along the lines of "anyone on my property without my permission deserves to die" but that doesn't cut it for me. A lot of these posts seem more interested in using lethal force as punishment instead of to actually prevent harm to yourself.

Reminds me of when someone my father was staying with almost shot him, because he couldn't identify my father. In the middle of the night. In pitch darkness. I've also surprised people in their houses because they forgot they told me to come by and let myself in. Personally, I'd appreciate someone using discretion instead of immediately opening fire on me.
 

Ishkabibble

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#39
Yes, killing them was harsh. I would have kneecapped them instead. Much more humane.

How did we get so soft that we cherish the rights of criminals? These teens were repeat offenders; they had robbed this man several times and they knew it was wrong... harmful. They made a choice to harm another, and while the punishment may have been harsh, it was the outcome of their unjust action. Words to the wise - if you harm others, it will come back to you. These teens serve as a lesson. Mind ethics and do not harm, lest your evils be returned upon you.

I tip my hat to Mr. Smith. I do believe he went too far, but I'd still share a coffee with the man.
 

Lawrence

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#40
How did we get so soft that we cherish the rights of criminals? These teens were repeat offenders; they had robbed this man several times and they knew it was wrong... harmful. They made a choice to harm another, and while the punishment may have been harsh, it was the outcome of their unjust action. Words to the wise - if you harm others, it will come back to you. These teens serve as a lesson. Mind ethics and do not harm, lest your evils be returned upon you.
I've only seen it written that the teens had stolen from people, and Smith had been robbed in the past. Not that they had robbed him before.

Unjustness does not warrant death. I've known people who've had run-ins with the law when they were young, got straightened out, and now live completely wholesome lives. I thought we were better than the backwards countries that dismember or hang people for minor crimes. Or is it bad when a Saudi judge orders a thief killed but good when an American does it himself?

I don't feel bad when there's a news story about a woman shooting a guy trying to break down her bedroom door, but this is BS. Posts like yours are what I'm talking about--to you this is justified because you see their deaths as retribution for their ways, not because Smith was trying to protect himself. I don't think we can judge someone's existence over morality issues without a specific crime to warrant the punishment. That's god's territory, not mine.