Minn. man who killed teenage intruders charged
LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — A Minnesota home-owner who shot two unarmed teenagers in the midst of an apparent Thanksgiving Day break-in told authorities he feared they had a weapon, but acknowledged firing “more shots than I needed to” and appeared to take pride in “a good clean finishing shot” for one teen, according to investigators.
Byron David Smith, 64, was charged on Monday with two counts of second-degree murder in a criminal complaint that was chilling for the clinical way investigators said he described the shootings.
Smith told investigators he shot 18-year-old Haile Kifer several times as she descended a stairway into his basement, and his Mini 14 rifle jammed as he tried to shoot her again after she had tumbled down the steps.
Though Kifer was “already hurting,” she let out a short laugh, Smith told investigators. He then pulled out his .22-caliber revolver and shot her several times in the chest, according to the complaint.
“If you're trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again,” Smith told investigators, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Smith was also charged in the death of Kifer's cousin, 17-year-old Nicholas Brady.
Minnesota law allows a homeowner to use deadly force on an intruder if a reasonable person would fear they're in danger of harm, and Smith told investigators he was afraid the intruders might have a weapon. However, Smith's actions weren't justified, Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said.
Smith told investigators he was fearful after several break-ins at his remote home about 10 miles south of Little Falls, a central Minnesota town of 8,000 people. The sheriff's office had only one report of a break-in, on Oct. 27. Smith reported losing thousands of dollars in cash, gold coins, two guns, photo equipment and jewelry.
Wetzel said that while the shootings happened on Thursday, Smith waited until Friday to report the deaths, explaining that “he didn't want to trouble us on a holiday.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Clinton focuses on economy’s future in speech
- Cincy officer indicted on murder charge in fatal shooting of motorist
- Hope dims for Fla. teens lost at sea
- Ohio cop indicted on murder charge in traffic-stop shooting
- Mail carrier credited with saving life of Nebraska octogenarian
- Artists’ community in Calif. reeling after girl’s death; teen boy arrested
- Swimmers dunk in newly cleaned N.Y. lake
- Feds probe timing of ticket cost at airlines days after Amtrak crash in Philadelphia
- Gunman in La. theater ambush described as loner who loved confrontation
- San Francisco’s Chinatown clings to roots amid tech boom
- Blankenship defense wants Upper Big Branch explosion evidence kept away from jury