In 2012, two teenagers decided to break & enter the wrong house. In truth, there is no such thing as the wrong house to break into, because it is not only against the law, but morally wrong as well. However, these two teens were shot to death by the owner of the home. The man has since been convicted of first-degree murder on two accounts, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
Break & enter gone terribly wrong
Bryon Smith was 65 years old at the time of the break & enter, he claimed that he was fearful of intruders because of prior burglaries. On Thanksgiving day 2012, two teenagers broke into his home on the Mississippi River about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17 were cousins, and they were shot to death by Smith. Smith fired a total of nine gunshots, from two different guns, at the teens.
Smith’s defense lawyer, Steve Meshbesher, said that he acted reasonably in self-defense. Minnesota law permits deadly force to defend oneself, but the action must be reasonable. The assailant should be considered a threat to society. Meshbesher focused his defense on the fact that Smith feared a break & enter due to previous burglaries in the recent past.
“He was confronted by a situation: Do or die,” Meshbesher said. The previous break & enter incidents involved weapons being stolen from Smith’s home. “Or at least he thought so because a month earlier he had guns stolen,” said Meshbesher. “They came in. But, he did not invite them,” Meshbesher said. Therefore, Meshbesher said he was within his rights. “Mr. Smith has a legal right under the laws of this state to defend his home.”
The teens attended Little Falls High, although Brady had transferred to Pillager High School. Haile was in her senior year and participated in athletics and Brady was a wrestler. In court, Judge Douglas Anderson did not allow the cousins’ histories to be used as evidence. Even though Brady had been involved in various other break-ins, including a separate incident at Smith’s house. Reportedly, he had broken into his garage.
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“Was it fear that drove this?“
On the other hand, the prosecutor, Peter Orput, said that Smith had planned the incident from that morning. In short, smith had seen a neighbor whom he suspected of the previous break-ins in the morning of the teens’ deaths. For instance, Smith had moved his truck to make it look like no one was home, and he waited in his basement with loaded guns. Additionally, Smith had recorded the break & enter incident.
The audio was played in court. Orput highlighted some statements Smith made in the recording that implied Smith had planned the whole thing. “In your left eye,” said Smith in the recording. Brady had been shot under his left eye. Orput said, “Was it fear that drove this or something else? Anger. Resentment?” He then asked the jury, “Is that fear or a plan?“
The recording of the break & enter included the sounds of Smith shooting at the teens and the taunts he directed at them. Firstly, he fired three shots at Brady as he came down the basement stairs. “You’re dead,” smith is heard saying. Secondly, Brady’s body could be heard being loaded onto a tarp, and pulled into a different room. In the recording, you can hear Smith go back to his sitting position, waiting for the second burglar, Kifer. After that, the sounds of her screams are heard as he shoots at her. “You’re dying,” he says and shoots her one last time.