A Minnesota man was convicted of premeditated murder Tuesday — and KARE reports while the shooting happened on Thanksgiving Day 2012, it took the jury just three hours to reach a verdict.
"The prosecution suggested Byron Smith planned, then like a hunter, sat and waited for any possible intruders. ... The defense countered, arguing Haile Kifer and Nick Brady broke in and Byron was defending himself in his own home."
Smith fatally shot the two teens, who were cousins, after they broke into his house. While Smith says he acted in self-defense, the prosecution argued he went too far when he shot them a total of nine times. Nick Brady's mother, Kimberly, agrees:
KIMBERLY BRADY: "I'm thankful to have my daughter, but my son died horribly, and for nothing." But not everyone agrees with the conviction, including Smith's neighbor.
JOHN LANGE: "It's very wrong, and this just told every drug addict in the country that they can rob all the elderly people and break into their home and get away with it." (Via WCCO)
A KMSP reporter even called the verdict "stunning." The jury unanimously agreed on four counts —two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Smith's home had been a target of break-ins in the past. The day of the shooting, the prosecution says Smith saw a neighbor who he thought was responsible for prior burglaries and set a plan into motion.
"... moving his truck to appear as if he weren’t home, activating an audio recorder in his basement, loading his guns and settling into a basement reading chair with water, snacks and a novel."
Because those audio recordings were released to the public after the trial, they've been getting plenty of play on TV. KSTP reports it's these very recordings that may have played against him in court.
"I see them as vermin. They were social mistakes, social problems. I don't see them as human."
Smith was sentenced to life without parole. Smith's lawyer plans to take the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.