BYRON SMITH TRIAL: Recap of closing arguments - KMSP-TV

BYRON SMITH TRIAL: Recap of closing arguments

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Byron Smith has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the Thanksgiving 2012 shooting deaths of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer in Little Falls, Minn. The jury returned a unanimous verdict after just 3 hours of deliberations.

Read more: Byron Smith guilty of first-degree murder


Meshbesher used his closing arguments to paint Smith as a terrified homeowner who acted with courage in the face of another break-in. He argued that, in Minnesota, homeowners have the right to kill in their own home if they fear for their life and safety.

“Nick Brady and Haile Kifer didn’t care,” Meshbesher said. “They simply don’t care.”

Brady and Kifer were shot and killed by Smith in the basement of his Little Falls home on Thanksgiving Day 2012. In his closing arguments, Meshbesher blamed the pair of unarmed teens for the choices they made.

“I’m not here to convince you what he did was right,” he told the jury. “It wasn’t nice. But it is legal. It’s not murder.”

“Had they not come in that car, on that day, to do what they were doing on private property, smash a window, crawl inside, we wouldn’t be here today,” Meshbesher said. “It was their actions that caused this whole thing.”

Prosecutor Pete Orput had a much different version of the shootings.

“I hope they feel for these victims,” Orput said. “I hope they do, despite the fact they were about to commit a burglary.”

Orput used audio recordings of the killings and Smith’s police interrogations to drive home the point that this was a premeditated, cold-blooded ambush.

“Most of us understand teenage kids do stupid things,” Orput said. “This was stupid. It cost them their lives. You believe it’s murder? It was in my view. I hope it is in the jury’s view.”

Orput likened Smith’s actions that day to deer hunting. He baited Brady and Kifer by moving his truck off his property, and then lying-in-wait in the basement with water, snack bars and a couple of guns while sitting in his favorite reading chair.

Orput called it his deer stand.


April 28: Defense rests, Byron Smith doesn't testify

April 25: Deputy told Byron Smith to call police 'right away'

April 24: Prosecution rests following autopsy details

April 24: Neighbor says 'I stand by Byron'

April 22: Chilling audio of Little Falls shootings played in court

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