Burglars Being Called “Victims” And Homeowner Charged With Second-Degree Murder After Killing Them?!?!?

Posted on November 27, 2012

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Minnesota (The Gaslamp Post) – A Little Falls man is facing two charges of second-degree-murder after he shot and killed two would-be burglars last week.  Byron David Smith, 64, is accused of using excessive force when he put down two teenage cousins while he was cornered in his basement.

The incident has rocked the small rural community of 8000.

This Nov. 23, 2012, photograph provided by the Morrison county sheriff's office showsByron David Smith.  The Morrison County man has been arrested after he told police he shot and killed two teenagers who were allegedly breaking into his home on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: Morrison County Sheriff's Office / AP

Byron David Smith, repeated victim of burglary who is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, for killing two burglars.

The break-in which occurred at around lunchtime on Thanksgiving, was the most recent of several that Smith had experienced.  In the previous burglary reportedly on October 27, 2012, Smith, who is also reported to be a retired security officer for the U.S. State Department, said that he was robbed of several thousand dollars in cash, gold coins, several handguns, photo equipment, and jewelry.

According to Smith’s statement, he had been in his basement workshop, tinkering, when he heard glass break from what he assumed was one of his windows.  He told police that he armed himself with his rifle and a handgun while he heard footsteps coming from upstairs.

Fearing that the intruders were armed, he took aim when he heard footsteps descending down his basement steps.  When he saw the first intruder coming down the stairs, he fired at him with his rifle, causing the intruder, now identified as Nicholas Brady, 17, to tumble down the stairs.  Smith shot him in the face when Brady landed at the foot of the stairs.

“I want him dead,” Smith reportedly told police as he recalled how it unfolded.

He then dragged Brady’s body over to a corner of his workshop, and left it on a tarp.  After a few minutes, he again heard footsteps descending down to his basement.

Again Smith took aim and fired once he saw the hips of the second intruder.  The second intruder, now identified as Haile Keifer, 18, was hit and also fell down the stairs.  Smith stated that his rifle jammed when he went to take another shot, and she laughed at him.

Smith said that this angered him, so he pulled his .22 cal. revolver and fired “more shots than I needed to” into her, according to the statement he made to police.

He then dragged her body over to the same tarp, and placed her next to her cousin.  Smith noticed that she was still alive and gasping for air, so he reportedly placed the barrel of the revolver under her chin and fired.

“Smith described it as ‘a good clean finishing shot,'” said police.

In a Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 photo, Byron David Smith's brother walks past the bedroom window of Byron's home where Nick Brady, and cousin Haile Kifer, allegedly broke in before they were shot and killed by Byron on Thanksgiving Day, in Little Falls, Minn. Byron David Smith, 64, of Little Falls, told police he shot Kifer, 18, and Brady, 17, during a break-in Thursday. But authorities said his actions exceeded reasonable self-defense and planned to charge him Monday with second-degree murder.    MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT Photo: The Star Tribune, Renee Jones Schneider / AP

Smith’s brother Bruce, walking past his brother’s bedroom window that has been taped over since the break-in. Image St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A day later, police investigating a car spotted out on the road by Smith’s neighbor, went by his home; at that point he reported what had happened.  When asked why he didn’t report the incident sooner, he reportedly told police, “it was Thanksgiving and he didn’t want to bother us on a holiday,” according to Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel.

“We understand and respect that right (to defend one’s self) exists, but what happened in this case went further,” said Wetzel. “The law doesn’t permit you to execute somebody when there’s no possible way the crime can continue.”

Family and friends of the two burglars are referring to them as “victims”, and are condemning Smith’s actions.

“They were 17 and 18 years old, and they didn’t need to die,” Shaeffel (Smith’s neighbor) told Bruce Smith (Smith’s brother) as she stood in the driveway, tears flowing down her face.

“That all depends on your perspective,” he told her.

“Yes, she (Kifer) had an addiction problem and stuff, but that doesn’t mean she deserves to get murdered at 18 years old,” Shaeffel said. “I understand they came there to rob them, or whatever, but shoot them in the shoulder and call the cops.”

In a Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 photo, Rachel Brady, sister of Nick Brady, and cousin of Haile Kifer, who were shot and killed during an alleged break in on Thanksgiving Day, speaks about her brother to a crowd who gathered for a vigil in Little Falls, Minn. Byron David Smith, 64, of Little Falls, told police he shot Kifer, 18, and Brady, 17, during a break-in Thursday. But authorities said his actions exceeded reasonable self-defense and planned to charge him Monday with second-degree murder.    MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT Photo: The Star Tribune, Renee Jones Schneider / AP

A candlelight vigil held this past Sunday, remembering the two burglars – whom the town is now calling “victims”. “Rachel” pictured above, is reportedly Nick’s sister. – Image St. Paul Pioneer Press.

“They were just really great people,” said Rachel Stauffer, 15. “They could make anyone laugh.”

Others spoke of Nick Brady’s perpetual smile and how he loved to tell them to “turn a frown upside down.”

Carlee Davich of Little Falls, who coached Kifer in swimming as assistant coach two years ago for the Little Falls High School team, described Kifer’s upbeat, infectious personality.

“She was always happy. She had a way that just made everyone happy. A lot of the swimmers and divers looked up to her,” Davich said.

Emma Schmidt, a senior at Little Falls High School who had known Kifer since middle school, said she was talented and that both were well-liked.

As for what Kifer was doing in Smith’s basement, Emma had no idea. “Everyone’s wondering that,” she said.

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.”

“This …doesn’t happen in our community,” said Liberty Nunn, 20, a friend of Brady’s sister. “If it was 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m a shoot first and ask questions later kind of person.

“But this was the middle of Thanksgiving Day and to not bother to call the cops? It’s just not right to take a life. … He got to shut the basement door and go on with his Thanksgiving,” Nunn said, “while two families were grieving.”

“Byron is holding up just fine, but he shouldn’t be in there, ” said Smith’s best friend, John Lange, according to the SeattlePi.  “You have the right to defend your home, and he’s been through hell.”

“They tortured him and targeted him, and it’s not good,” Lange said.  “If you’ve been broken into one time, that would be enough.  But it’s terrible.”

Bond was set for $1M, due to him believing to be a flight risk because of his various world-wide connections.  If convicted he faces between 21 and 30 years for each charge.