Sarah Nelson Katzenberger
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.
LITTLE FALLS — Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigators discovered a cellphone jammer in the days after the 2012 Thanksgiving Day shooting at the home of Byron Smith, according to court testimony Wednesday. BCA agent William Bennett told the court that the device — which he referred to as a “cellphone interrupter,” was discovered on the kitchen counter of Smith’s rural Little Falls home. Photos submitted as evidence showed the device, approximately the size of a cigarette box, was near a window hidden behind what appeared to be a bottle of cooking oil.
LITTLE FALLS — Audio recordings of initial law enforcement interviews with Byron Smith revealed Smith thought he had shot his neighbor’s daughter the day Nick Brady and Haile Kifer were killed in his rural Little Falls home. Smith’s criminal trial started Monday in Morrison County. He faces two indictments of first-degree murder. Smith told deputy investigator Jeremy Luberts that he thought a female neighbor, identified as Ashley Williams, had started breaking into his home 12-15 years ago.
LITTLE FALLS — The amount of time that passed while Byron Smith waited in his basement on Nov. 22 — Thanksgiving Day — 2012 may be the crux of the rural Little Falls man’s criminal trial. Smith’s trial began Monday in Morrison County. Smith admitted to shooting teens Nick Brady and Haile Kifer after they entered his rural Little Falls home without permission. Smith is charged with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder.