The defense attorney of Byron Smith, convicted of two counts of first-degree premeditated murder a year ago this month (April 2014), have filed an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court seeking that his conviction either be dismissed, or reevaluated in a lower court.
Smith’s conviction came as a result of the shooting deaths of 17-year-old Nicholas Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer. Smith shot the teens, who had broken into his home, on Thanksgiving Day 2012. This break-in was the last of a string of burglaries that plagued the home, having prompted Smith to carry a gun and install a security system. This security system ultimately captured the event on audio and video, in addition to more than six hours of audio Smith recorded in the basement on a digital recorder.
The initial shots fired at Brady and Kifer, neither of which was fatal, would have likely been justified under Minnesota’s castle doctrine, which defends the use of force to protect oneself against an intruder in the home. The prosecution argued that the shots fired injured the intruders removing the immediate threat and therefore making the subsequent gunshots unnecessary, and illegal.
The appeal, filed by attorney Steven Meshbesher, is grounded on missteps in the previous trial. These errors include evidence shown to the Grand Jury, as well as evidence deemed inadmissible in the Morrison County District Court. We have yet to how the Supreme Court will decide in the matter.