Sarah Nelson Katzenberger
LITTLE FALLS — A jury of six men and six women found Byron Smith guilty of all counts Tuesday in the shooting death of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer. Smith had been indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and charged with two counts of second-degree murder following the Thanksgiving Day, 2012, shooting of Brady and Kifer after the pair entered his home without permission. Smith admitted to authorities that he shot the teens “more times than he should have.” State prosecutor Pete Orput asked the court to give Smith the maximum sentence allowed by the state of Minnesota.
LITTLE FALLS — Byron Smith has been found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder for the Thanksgiving Day, 2012, shootings of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer at Smith’s rural Little Falls home. The jury returned its verdicts after about three hours and 20 minutes of deliberation. Check back to www.brainerddispatch.com for updates.
LITTLE FALLS — Judge Douglas Anderson gave jurors final instructions in the Byron Smith murder trial Monday. Closing statements in the trial are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Anderson informed the jury of the laws applied in the case and that once deliberation begins Tuesday, jurors will be sequestered until a final verdict is reached. Juror instruction followed the end of witness testimony for the defense.
LITTLE FALLS — Defense attorney Steven Meshbesher told reporters Monday it was his decision to not have Byron Smith testify. Smith is on trial in Morrison County for two first-degree murder indictments in the Thanksgiving Day 2012 shooting deaths of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer after the pair entered Smith’s home without permission. Meshbesher said Smith was willing to take the stand. “He was wanting to do anything,” Meshbesher said. “He was taking my advice.”
LITTLE FALLS — The defense rested its case Monday in the murder trial of Byron Smith of rural Little Falls. Byron Smith waived his right to testify in court Monday following two days of defense testimony. Jurors left the room while Smith spoke before the judge, officially exercising his right to remain silent. Smith is on trial for first-degree murder in the Thanksgiving Day 2012 shooting deaths of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer. A fourth motion for a mistrial since Byron Smith’s murder trial began, Apr. 21, was denied.
LITTLE FALLS — Witnesses for the defense attested Friday to fear observed in Byron Smith in the days before the Thanksgiving Day 2012 shooting of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer in Smith’s rural Little Falls home. Smith is currently on trial for the murder of the teens. Smith’s neighbor, William Anderson, took the stand for the second time and told the court he has known Smith for 40 years. Anderson said he knew Smith’s parents well and helped take care of Smith’s mother — buying her groceries and cutting her grass — in the years Smith was away.
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.
LITTLE FALLS — After calling their final witness, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) forensic scientist Nathaniel Pearlson, state prosecutors rested their case against Byron Smith in Morrison County Thursday. Smith is on trial for murder in the shooting deaths of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer on Thanksgiving Day 2012. Pearlson returned to the stand after giving testimony Tuesday and Wednesday in regard to his findings in the personal effects of Brady and Kifer, including their clothes and shoes.
LITTLE FALLS — Family members of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer covered their faces and wiped away tears as Ramsey County Medical Examiner Kelly Mills testified in a Morrison County courtroom Thursday. Mills conducted autopsies on Brady and Kifer following their shooting deaths in the basement of rural Little Falls resident Byron Smith whose home they entered without permission on Thanksgiving Day 2012.
LITTLE FALLS — Audio recordings captured conversations Byron Smith had alone in his home following the Thanksgiving Day 2012 shootings of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer. Several law enforcement agents testified Wednesday that two digital recorders were recovered from Smith’s home. One found in the workroom space of Smith’s basement was found with dead batteries. The second recorder was discovered on the top shelf of a bookshelf in Smith’s basement living room with six hours, 24 minutes and 58 seconds of audio recording from the day of the shooting.