Author Topic: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'  (Read 1659 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« on: April 21, 2014, 04:51:41 PM »
http://news.msn.com/crime-justice/defense-man-who-shot-teens-scared-in-own-home


In this Nov. 26, 2012 file photo, a keep out sign stands at the property of Byron David Smith, in Little Falls, Minn.
AP 2 hr ago By AMY FORLITI of Associated Press



Byron Smith, 65, of Little Falls, is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the slayings of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The killings rocked the small central Minnesota city of about 8,000 and stirred debate about how far a person can go in defending their home.

Smith has claimed self-defense, saying he feared the teens were armed and he was on edge after earlier repeated break-ins at his home. Under Minnesota law, a person may use deadly force to prevent a felony from taking place in one's home or dwelling, but authorities have said Smith crossed a line when he continued to shoot the teens after they were no longer a threat.

"This is not a case of whodunit," defense attorney Steve Meshbesher told jurors Monday. "Mr. Smith is the person who shot and killed those two people, but he is not criminally responsible for the deaths. He is not guilty of murder."

Assistant Washington County Attorney Brent Wartner told jurors that Smith thought a neighbor girl had been breaking into his home, so on that Thanksgiving Day, Smith sat in his basement, waiting. Evidence in the case will include Smith's statements and audio from a recorder that Smith had set up in a bookcase the day of the break-in, Wartner said.

"He's down in the basement, in a chair, tucked between two bookcases at the bottom of the stairs. He said he was down there reading a book ... with his Mini-14, a .22-caliber revolver, some energy bars and a bottle of water," Wartner said.

Wartner said Smith heard the door of his house rattle at about 12:30 p.m., then someone walking across the deck, then a window breaking.

"And he waited," Wartner said.

But Meshbesher said his client was hiding after break-ins that had gotten increasingly more violent.

"He became frightened and scared to live in his own home," he said of Smith, later adding, "He began to wear a holster and pistol in his own house. That is how afraid he is, and became."

Prosecutors say as Brady descended the basement steps, Smith shot him in the chest, then in the back while Brady fell, Wartner said. Smith fired a final shot into Brady's head, the bullet passing through Brady's hand, Wartner said. Smith put Brady's body on a tarp so he wouldn't get blood on his carpet, dragged the body into his workshop, reloaded his Mini-14 rifle and sat down again, the prosecutor said.

A few minutes later, Kifer walked down the stairs and Smith shot her, Wartner said. He tried another shot, but his rifle jammed, Wartner said, and Smith told police he believed Kifer laughed at him.

"He was angry," Wartner said. He said that Smith then pulled out his revolver and he shot her twice in the head, once in the left eye and once behind the left ear.

Smith dragged Kifer's body into the workshop and laid it on top of Brady's, Wartner said. Smith told investigators he thought he heard Kifer gasping, so he placed his revolver under her chin and fired what he told police was a "good clean finishing shot to the head," the assistant prosecutor said.

Smith is a retired security engineer for the U.S. Department of State. Kifer and Brady were cousins. The two were well-known in the community, and both were involved in sports.

After their deaths, authorities said a car linked to Brady and Kifer contained prescription drugs that had been stolen from another house, apparently the day before they were killed. Court documents from another case show Brady had burglarized Smith's property at least twice in the months before he was killed.

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Offline sinkspur

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 06:29:41 PM »
Smith is going to prison.  It's one thing to defend one's self in one's home and quite another to put a "finishing shot to the head." 
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Offline truth_seeker

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 06:51:56 PM »
I wonder if, when he was premeditating, he considered calling cops  as well?

The story as written indicates he was hell-bent on killing them totally dead, not injured etc.

 
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Offline Fishrrman

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 08:35:01 PM »
I wonder what the charges would be if this same series of events had occurred in Texas...

Offline Charlespg

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2014, 08:51:01 PM »
What the hell where they doing in the mans  house to begin with?
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Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 08:53:16 PM »
I wonder what the charges would be if this same series of events had occurred in Texas...

Probably interfering with a crime scene at most for when he wrapped the first one up in a tarp.

Offline Lando Lincoln

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2014, 08:55:39 PM »
If this is at all accurate, regardless how it started or what happened in the middle, it ended in an execution.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2014, 08:57:03 PM »
What matters is that they are both dead. It does not matter whether what he did was right or wrong.
 
What criminals and punks have to understand, is that the guy they choose may not behave rationally. If you frighten someone, everything becomes unpredictable.
 
They were screwing with someone and they got shot. As a criminal you have to understand this. Shit happens. If you cannot understand the risks, you should not be in the game.
 
Being stupid will get you killed, especially when you start f***ing with people you do not know. Eventually, you are going to run into someone who is crazier, more scared, more stupid, or more deadly than you are. That is just the way it works. That is just part of the game.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline Lando Lincoln

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2014, 09:04:17 PM »
What matters is that they are both dead. It does not matter whether what he did was right or wrong.
 
What criminals and punks have to understand, is that the guy they choose may not behave rationally. If you frighten someone, everything becomes unpredictable.
 
They were screwing with someone and they got shot. As a criminal you have to understand this. Shit happens. If you cannot understand the risks, you should not be in the game.
 
Being stupid will get you killed, especially when you start f***ing with people you do not know. Eventually, you are going to run into someone who is crazier, more scared, more stupid, or more deadly than you are. That is just the way it works. That is just part of the game.

Agreed. But then, the law and judicial system is left to sort it out.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline sinkspur

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2014, 09:09:34 PM »
I wonder what the charges would be if this same series of events had occurred in Texas...

Murder in the second degree.  I live in Texas and am the biggest gun nut there is.

But, once a perp is neutralized, deciding to "finish them off" is a separate act. 

Also, the fact that he didn't call the cops after taking down the first offender will definitely work against him.
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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2014, 09:12:41 PM »
Agreed. But then, the law and judicial system is left to sort it out.

The ultimate bottom line is that if they had not been in his house, they would not be dead. No matter what any law says, they are ultimately at fault for the whole thing. This guy is old, and scared. They should have just left him alone. And now, these punks have probably ruined the rest of his life, for something he did not have any desire or intention to ever do.
 
They brought it on themselves, and changed his entire life by their own stupidity. There is no such thing as being "fair" or "thoughtful" when you live alone and there are known prowlers in your house.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline Lando Lincoln

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2014, 09:33:38 PM »
Again, what you say has merit. But, then what?
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 09:45:31 PM »
Again, what you say has merit. But, then what?

Involuntary manslaughter under duress. Some kind of light probation...case closed. Give the guy the remaining years of his life. I cannot catagorize this guy as any kind of menace to society. (well, unless you break into his house in the middle of the night and start taking his stuff. Then you might be in trouble. But who is going to do something that stupid?)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 09:46:20 PM by 240B »
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline sinkspur

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 09:47:53 PM »

The ultimate bottom line is that if they had not been in his house, they would not be dead. No matter what any law says, they are ultimately at fault for the whole thing. This guy is old, and scared. They should have just left him alone. And now, these punks have probably ruined the rest of his life, for something he did not have any desire or intention to ever do.
 
They brought it on themselves, and changed his entire life by their own stupidity. There is no such thing as being "fair" or "thoughtful" when you live alone and there are known prowlers in your house.

Are you kidding?  He had no desire or intention to kill anybody?  He was WAITING IN HIS BASEMENT for somebody to come in his house.  And he had two fully-loaded weapons at the ready.

65 is not "old."   He may have been scared, but a dog with a big bark would have run these two kids off.

He was perfectly justified in taking down the first perp. But, at that point, he should have called the cops.   Laying in wait for the second perp might also pass muster.

But, "finishing her off" will get him a jail sentence.   The fact that he could do that after she was immobilized makes it OK with me that he won't be imposing his form of justice on anybody else.
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Offline sinkspur

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 09:49:05 PM »

Involuntary manslaughter under duress. Some kind of light probation...case closed. Give the guy the remaining years of his life. I cannot catagorize this guy as any kind of menace to society. (well, unless you break into his house in the middle of the night and start taking his stuff. Then you might be in trouble. But who is going to do something that stupid?)

Nope.  That final shot will get him a murder charge. 
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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 10:33:05 PM »
Negative. The man cannot be judged on his actions in those moments. He was not thinking rationally. He was not in his right mind. His actions are mitigated by the extreme nature of the situation he was forced into by the two perps.
 
He did not set out to do anything 'premeditated'. The only thing he wanted was to be left alone, which is his right. The perps brought the situation to him, there is no arguement that it was the other way around. Even if he was waiting for them, which I reject, they still came. That is not his fault.
 
Had they not shown up he would have been just some crazy guy waiting in his basement, and nothing at all would happen. He was fighting for his home, and his right to privacy and dignity. That is the oldest law known to mankind.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline Oceander

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 10:48:14 PM »
Query whether the charges can stick if the two were dead, or would have inevitably died, from just the initial shots that were clearly fired in self-defense.  If they were already dead, or would have died imminently, from just the shots fired in self-defense, then it seems to me the worst he could get is abuse of a corpse for the later shots because the two were already dead.  Also, I don't really see the sort of planning and cold, calculated decision-making that ought to be the touch-stone of premeditated murder.  I see at most negligent homicide or something similar.  The guy's getting railroaded because someone wants to use him as a political stepping-stone.

Offline sinkspur

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 10:49:45 PM »
I'm not going to argue with you further.  You're all emotion and into defending the shooter.

I'm willing to bet considerable coin that he will be charged with, and convicted of, second degree murder.  First degree is premeditation.  There was none of that.

But "finishing her off" is not manslaughter.  It's a willful intent to kill.
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 10:53:21 PM »
I'm not going to argue with you further.  You're all emotion and into defending the shooter.

I'm willing to bet considerable coin that he will be charged with, and convicted of, second degree murder.  First degree is premeditation.  There was none of that.

But "finishing her off" is not manslaughter.  It's a willful intent to kill.

However, if the initial shot would have killed her in very short order all by itself - i.e., so soon that there was no possibility of any life-saving help arriving - then at most you would have attempt, because the killing had already been done, and that by a shot that was justified.  It's an interesting split because generally the finishing off shot comes at the end of a shooting that was illegal from start to finish, so there really isn't much difference; here I think there might be a difference, not that it'll stop the prosecutor from grand-standing on this guy.

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 11:07:56 PM »
What you are describing is a classic conundrum in Law School. The story goes...
 
A guy jumps off the roof of an apartment building. As the jumper is falling a guy in one of the apartments shoots at his wife. He misses, and shoots throught the window, and kills the guy who is falling. The wife seeing the guy falling, leans out to grap him and falls to her death. Who is guilty of what? What are the counts?
 
This is a real question.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline Oceander

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 11:11:05 PM »
What you are describing is a classic conundrum in Law School. The story goes...
 
A guy jumps off the roof of an apartment building. As the jumper is falling a guy in one of the apartments shoots at his wife. He misses, and shoots throught the window, and kills the guy who is falling. The wife seeing the guy falling, leans out to grap him and falls to her death. Who is guilty of what? What are the counts?
 
This is a real question.


yup.  it's always fun to play around with.

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 11:24:12 PM »
I'm not going to argue with you further.  You're all emotion and into defending the shooter.

I'm willing to bet considerable coin that he will be charged with, and convicted of, second degree murder.  First degree is premeditation.  There was none of that.

But "finishing her off" is not manslaughter.  It's a willful intent to kill.

Willful intent to kill is not criminal in and of itself. There are times when a 'willful intent to kill' is fully justified. We do not know and cannot know what was going on or if the shooter continued to feel threatened. We just do not know what really happened, and that is doubt, especially when it comes to murder. Prove to me that she was still alive. Prove to me that even the shooter knew what he was doing.
 
What we know is that they were in his house. We know that he was afraid. Anything else is speculation. I can guarantee there will be no murder change. That would be stupid. No way. If this guy is convicted of 'murder', it would cheapen the whole concept of what murder is.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline Oceander

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 11:29:43 PM »
Quote
Smith dragged Kifer's body into the workshop and laid it on top of Brady's, Wartner said. Smith told investigators he thought he heard Kifer gasping, so he placed his revolver under her chin and fired what he told police was a "good clean finishing shot to the head," the assistant prosecutor said.

Whoops.  Serves me right for not reading more carefully.  That is premeditated murder.  I have no doubt that the prosecutor is still going to grand-stand on this, but I also believe this guy is very likely going to be convicted for premeditated murder, and that would be a reasonable thing for a jury to do.

Once he incapacitated the intruders the justification of self-defense evaporated and he should have been calling the cops, not practicing his kill-shot skills.

Offline truth_seeker

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2014, 11:40:36 PM »
Whoops.  Serves me right for not reading more carefully.  That is premeditated murder.  I have no doubt that the prosecutor is still going to grand-stand on this, but I also believe this guy is very likely going to be convicted for premeditated murder, and that would be a reasonable thing for a jury to do.

Once he incapacitated the intruders the justification of self-defense evaporated and he should have been calling the cops, not practicing his kill-shot skills.
That is what I said in #2 above.
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Defense: Man who shot teens 'scared in own home'
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2014, 11:43:40 PM »
That is what I said in #2 above.


Like I said, shame on me for not reading the original story more carefully.


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