Families of murdered teens speak out after Byron Smith convictio - KMSP-TV

Families of murdered teens speak out after Byron Smith conviction

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LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (KMSP) -

Although they maintained their silence through the trial, family members of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer are now opening up about their grief now that Byron Smith has been convicted of their murders.

"My son died horribly -- and for nothing," Kimberly Brady, Nick Brady's mother, said.

Shortly after the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts, loved ones solemnly described their 17-month quest for justice.

"There are no winners in this," Steve Schaeffel, Nick Brady's grandfather, said. "My family is out Nick. The Kifers are out Haile, and one set of grandparents are out two kids. That's horrible. The kids made a dumb mistake."

Jurors took just 3 hours to find Smith guilty of first-degree premeditated murder -- a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence. Yet, although the trial and verdict finished faster than was predicted, the process was tough for family members to endure.

"It's been difficult," Kimberly Brady acknowledged. "I have to get up every day and look at the man who shot my son and niece. I don't believe he felt remorse. That would have meant something, but I don't think he felt that."

The chilling audio recordings that captured the basement shootings and the aftermath likely played a pivotal role in the lightning-fast deliberation, and they also provided perspective on how Smith viewed and coped with the killings.

Smith declined to testify in his own defense, but jurors heard all the recordings he made as well as the entire recorded conversations he had with law enforcement. Smith also declined to speak in court when the verdict was delivered.

His attorney, Steve Meshbesher, tried to make the case that the 65-year-old was a man living in fear when his home was broken into that Thanksgiving weekend following a rash of burglaries. Now, Meshbesher is vowing to appeal.

"He sees people who are extremely violent, don't care about the law, don't care about rules," Meshbesher said. " They don’t' care about anybody but themselves. They are high on drugs."

Yet, Orput made the case that Smith meticulously planned the shootings, likening the killings to a cold-blooded ambush. Now, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"We have two dead kids over nothing -- over a siphon hose, copper wire, some cash, stuff, property," Orput said. "Now, they are dead. We have had enough of these cases."

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