A new book by a Little Falls woman revisits the case of Byron Smith, convicted of murder in the killings of two teenagers — Nick Brady and Haile Kifer — who broke into Smith’s home in 2012.

A column by Tom West, former general manager of the Morrison County Record, describes the book “Imprisoned by Fear” by Kathy Lange, who was Smith’s neighbor and friend. Lange was also involved in establishing a program at St. Gabriel’s Hospital to curb opioid addiction, and the book views the Smith case in part through the lens of the “rippling effects of drug addiction.”

“He feared for his life as each burglary became more violent, and the fear that he would be killed by his own guns intensified,” a description of the book on Target’s website stated. “With his training in security, he installed cameras and recorders and locked and dead bolted every door and window to his home to prevent entry. Prescription drug bottles were found in the teen's car from another home they had broken into the night before.”

Smith lived with Lange and her family before his trial, according to the same description — a trial that ultimately led to a conviction of life in prison upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court. After shooting multiple times and killing the unarmed teens in his home, Smith waited 24 hours before reporting the home invasion and subsequent deaths to police. The prosecution successfully argued Smith intentionally lured Brady and Kifer to his home by parking his vehicle a distance away to make it appear as if no one was home. Smith tape-recorded before, during and after the shootings, and those recordings were a key part of the prosecution’s case.


Crosby Mayor Bob Novak announced he will likely resign in August, pending the purchase of a home outside the city, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported Wednesday, July 15.

Novak, who said he had no intention of running for reelection, said the end of his service as mayor may come sooner if the home sale goes through. The announcement came at the Crosby City Council’s Monday, July 13, meeting, where the council also approved the hiring of a new city administrator. Matthew Hill will replace Lisa Sova, who resigned in April to take a position with the League of Minnesota Cities. Hill is currently the director of parks and recreation in the city of Nisswa.


The Mille Lacs County Board is set to host a public hearing on a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution proposed by residents, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported Wednesday.

The resolution would “impede the enforcement of unconstitutional gun control legislation,” the Messenger stated. Mille Lacs County Sheriff Don Lorge told the board he was “very pro-gun,” although he noted he’d denied gun permits to individuals he said should not bear arms. But if the state asked his office to remove guns from people, he said it wouldn’t happen.

“I will fight it tooth and nail,” the Messenger reported Lorge said.


About $300,000 in damage is estimated to have occurred in Morrison County as a result of a torrential rainstorm in late June, the Morrison County Record reported July 12.

During the June 29 storm, Little Falls officially received 9.08 inches of rain, which Emergency Manager Victoria Ingram described as historic. Southwestern Morrison County was hit particularly hard, including washed out roads and collapsed culverts. The Morrison County Board declared a state of emergency and is requesting the state division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management assess the damages.

— Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at facebook.com/dispatchchelsey.