Little Falls man wants murder charges dismissed

Published 2:53 pm Saturday, August 31, 2013

LITTLE FALLS — A central Minnesota judge will decide later this year whether to dismiss first-degree murder charges against a man accused of killing two teens who broke into his home.

An attorney for Byron Smith, 65, argued in Morrison County District Court on Friday that there is not enough evidence to support the indictment against his client, and it should be dismissed. Attorney Steven Meshbesher also argued that prosecutors committed misconduct during grand jury proceedings and that there were other flaws in the case.

Meshbesher also wants evidence obtained during searches of Smith’s house to be suppressed.

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Prosecutors say Smith shot Nicholas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, multiple times after they broke into his home last November. His attorneys have claimed he acted in self-defense.

During Friday’s hearing, Meshbesher questioned three investigators about their actions after the murders, and raised inconsistencies on when Smith was read his rights.

Prosecutor Pete Orput said the defense’s line of questioning is a “fishing expedition.”

Judge Douglas Anderson will give attorneys until November to file written arguments, then he will make his decision on whether the charges should be dismissed.

The shooting stirred debate about how much force homeowners can use when protecting property.

Court records say there were several minutes between the shootings of the two teens, and their bodies were in his house for a day before authorities were notified.

The break-in was captured by video surveillance, and the shootings themselves were captured by an audio recorder.