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Morrison sheriff testifies in Byron Smith murder trial

LITTLE FALLS — Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel took the stand Friday as the second witness called by the defense in the Byron Smith murder trial in Morrison County.

Wetzel’s testimony followed the conclusion of testimony from Morrison County Sheriff’s deputy Jamie Luberts.

Luberts testified regarding an Oct. 27, 2012, burglary reported by Smith.

Among items reported stolen from Smith’s home was a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun.

Wetzel testified that within the weeks between the October burglary and Thanksgiving Day shooting he was given information that a person not identified in court knew who was in possession of the stolen firearm and where it was.

Wetzel told the court he drove with the unidentified person in his squad car to a secluded location in Belle Prairie where the shotgun was discovered in a frozen swampy area.

Photos were submitted of the weapon as it lay in the snow.

Defense attorney Adam Johnson asked Wetzel if he had any reason to believe the shotgun was not functional.

State prosecutor Pete Orput objected to the question, maintaining it was irrelevant.

Prosecutors had no questions for the sheriff.