1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

    Will Reed Sheppard continue his torrid play in Summer League? Join us as the Rockets take on Ron Holland and the Pistons at 5:30pm CT!

    Rockets vs. Pistons - LIVE!

Homeowner Kills Two Teenagers in His House

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
    Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    Likes Received:
    This was a case that happened on Thanksgiving in the town of Little Falls, MN where a homeowner shot two teens who broke into his house. He shot them multiple times to make sure they were dead and left their bodies in his basement only to call the police the next day. The two teens are connected with an earlier robbery.

    This case has brought up discussion again about the castle doctrine, which Minnesota doesn't have even though it has a similar statute regarding the right to defend yourself in your own home. I'm curious what a predominantly Texas board thinks of this case.


    Minn. man says he 'fired more shots than I needed'
    Byron David Smith was charged with second degree murder after he said he shot two teenagers who broke into his home on Thanksgiving and then continued to shoot them to death while they lay wounded.

    LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota homeowner 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 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.

    "The law doesn't permit you to execute somebody once a threat is gone," he said.

    Smith told investigators he was fearful after several break-ins at his remote home in 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."

    In the complaint, Smith said he was in his basement when he heard a window breaking upstairs, followed by footsteps that eventually approached the basement stairwell. Smith said he fired when Brady came into view from the waist down.

    After the teen fell down the stairs, Smith said he shot him in the face as he lay on the floor.

    "I want him dead," the complaint quoted Smith telling an investigator.

    Smith said he dragged Brady's body into his basement workshop, then sat down on his chair. After a few minutes, Kifer began coming down the stairs and he shot her as soon as her hips appeared, he said.

    After shooting her with both the Mini 14 and the .22-caliber revolver, he dragged her next to Brady. With her still gasping for air, he fired a shot under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint says.

    "Smith described it as 'a good clean finishing shot,'" according to the complaint.

    The next day he asked a neighbor to recommend a good lawyer, according to the complaint. He later asked his neighbor to call the police.

    A prosecutor called Smith's reaction "appalling."

    "Mr. Smith intentionally killed two teenagers in his home in a manner that goes well beyond self-defense," Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf said after Smith appeared in court Monday morning. Bail was set at $2 million.

    Defense attorney Gregory Larson declined comment.

    John Lange, who described himself as Smith's best friend, said Smith shouldn't be in jail.

    "You have a right to defend your home," Lange said. "He's been through hell."

    But Liberty Nunn, a Little Falls resident who said she knew Nicholas Brady's older sister, said Smith could have simply shouted at them to stop. She said she hopes Smith goes to prison "for a very, very long time."

    "Those are two young lives that were taken," she said. "It's just not right."

    Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for a range of roughly 21 to 30 years in prison for a person convicted of a single second-degree murder count.

    Smith's brother, Bruce Smith, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune his brother had retired after a career as a security officer with the U.S. State Department.

    Bruce Smith declined to talk to an Associated Press reporter Monday outside his brother's home. A makeshift barricade blocked the driveway and a board leaning against it bore the spray-painted words "Keep Out."

    Brady's sister, Crystal Schaeffel, told the Star Tribune that Kifer had stolen prescription drugs from her home before. Little Falls police records show Crystal Schaeffel reported a theft Aug. 28, but the department said the report was not public because that investigation was continuing and because it named juveniles.

    Schools in Little Falls, about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis, made counselors available, though classes weren't in session Monday. In nearby Pillager, where classes were in session, a few students sought help from school counselors and local clergy members available at the school Monday morning, said Superintendent Chuck Arns.
  2. joesr

    joesr Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I would have shot them dead. You come into my house with ill intentions and I am not taking any chances. I do not know if they have firearms or other weapons of the sort. I have seen to many movies. I have read to many stories. I will not take the chance to just wound someone, turn around to call the police and then have them stab or shoot me from behind. Or even worse, when he goes to jail, does his time and comes out come get revenge on me.
  3. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Likes Received:
    will you wait a day to report it to the cops?
  4. heypartner

    heypartner Member

    Oct 27, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Damn dumb teens

    Sounds like they were stealing for money to buy drugs. Might have assumed the guy had prescriptions drugs like Brady's sister did when they stole from her.

  5. QdoubleA

    QdoubleA Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Likes Received:
    He has every right to shoot someone breaking into his home BUT it seems like he had them under control (he was leading them into his basement) so at that point he isn't protecting himself, he's executing someone. Waiting a day to call the cops is unacceptable as well.
  6. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

    Feb 14, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I'd call it murder. Doesn't sound like self defense at all.
  7. Qball

    Qball Member

    Nov 9, 2001
    Likes Received:
    This sounds like premeditated murder.
  8. thadeus

    thadeus Member

    Sep 14, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Yeah. That's murder.
  9. ILoveTheRockets

    Nov 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    premeditated? yeah, like he planned for 2 people to break into his home, and premeditated a reaction one only has when killing a person. Sounds like he wanted to put them out of their misery. Especially the girl gasping for air after being shot, if she was already a goner...mine as well speed up the process. Yeah, it sucks,but if I was laying on the ground gasping for air while dying. I would pray someone puts me out of my misery.

    The homeowner probably lost his logical thought process when realizing how young the first person actually was.

    You can not fault this person for defending his home, not even one bit. Teens can be just as capable as adults when it comes to killing. Age should not have any bearing on this, you break into peoples homes, don't be shocked when bit by led.
  10. kpsta

    kpsta Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Based on the those details and absent any other information, if I were on the jury, I would say he's guilty and recommend life in prison with no possibility of parole. That guy sounds simply too unstable/dangerous to live out the rest of his life in the general population. Making "clean finishing shots" on already gravely injured teenagers is execution... not self-defense.
  11. Major

    Major Member

    Jun 28, 1999
    Likes Received:
    So you're saying he thought about it and then decided to kill someone who was not a threat. Yeah... that's pretty much the definition of murder.
  12. Kim

    Kim Member

    Feb 17, 1999
    Likes Received:
    If he only murders people who break into his house, then I don't know how big of a danger he'd be to society. He probably did go too far here because he personally felt safe perhaps. This reminds of that Camus book, The Stranger. It's a lot of conflicting values here. Does one's right to life end just because you violate someone's property rights? I'm not sure, and I'm actually a very strong proponent of property rights. It seems like he could have legally and morally killed them if he did it in less shots or if they were still coming at him. But does that make it any worse that he shot a few more times? Because one could argue that many times criminals who have been shot still pull out weapons and do harm (see "I Survived" - the greatest reality series on TV).
  13. magnetik

    magnetik Member

    Aug 2, 2005
    Likes Received:
    his main mistake was that he used .22LR... instead of .44 magnum. We wouldn't be having this conversation if he did. He had a history of breakin's at his property.. I'd feel on edge too.
  14. R0ckets03

    R0ckets03 Member

    Nov 11, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I'd kill someone breaking into my house as well, but this guy definitely went overboard. 2 counts of murder might be much, is manslaughter possible?
  15. Classic

    Classic Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Likes Received:
    I think you cross the line putting the gun under the chin. I can understand firing from across the room on somebody but walking up to them, seeing them hurt and deciding to go execution style takes it from self-defense to opportunistic murder. Then waiting an entire day? Sick dude.
  16. amaru

    amaru Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Likes Received:
    He clearly crossed the line with the whole "gun under the chin" and "one day wait".

    Will be interesting to see what happens.
  17. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Likes Received:
    What a ****ing nutjob. I don't feel bad for the kids for getting shot during a break-in. I do think this guy should be severely punished for going above and beyond and murdering them though.
  18. GanjaRocket

    GanjaRocket Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    Likes Received:
    not self defense lol
  19. SC1211

    SC1211 Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I think a lot of you guys casually say that you'd kill someone who broke into your house without actually putting yourself in that situation.

    This man deserves life in prison. Disgusting.
  20. BEAT LA

    BEAT LA Member

    Sep 24, 2009
    Likes Received:
    If I didn't see an immediate threat, I would not have shot them. Of course one could argue anyone breaking into their home is a threat, but if I have a gun and I don't see a gun then I would do my best to take control of the situation and avoid shooting them. I'd call the cops, have them arrested, and press charges.

    If I needed to shoot a burglar, I would make sure the gun I own kills them in one shot. With this countries broken legal system they can turn around and sue you if they live.

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!

    Upgrade Now