Surveillance video, audio of Thanksgiving Day break-in and shootings recovered during search of Smith’s home

By Terry Lehrke

Surveillance footage and an audio recording were seized by law enforcement authorities during one of six searches of the home of Byron David Smith of Little Falls.

Smith, 64, is charged with second degree murder for shooting and killing two alleged burglars, teen cousins Nick Brady and Haile Kifer, during a Thanksgiving Day home invasion of his residence.

A search warrant executed Nov. 29, yielded surveillance video of Brady, 17, and Kifer, 18, outside Byron David Smith’s home, mid-day Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23. A digital audio recorder containing audio of the shooting was also found.

Smith was charged with second degree murder, after he made a taped confession to law enforcement officials. County Attorney Brian Middendorf then determined from the confession that Smith had gone beyond the point of self-defense, shooting each of the intruders several times and not reporting the incident until the following day. Smith waited until the day after the shootings to call a neighbor to ask whether he knew of a local attorney. The neighbor called the Sheriff’s Department about 1 p.m., saying he thought there had been a shooting at the Smith home.

Following the incident, Smith told authorities he was in the basement of his home when he heard someone breaking in and waited in his basement. When he saw Brady come down the steps he shot him once with a Mini-14, and when he fell down the stairs, he shot him again and dragged him into another room. When Kifer came down the steps, he shot her in the hip area, and when she fell, his gun jammed. He shot her several times using .22 caliber nine-shot revolver. After dragging her body into the room with Brady, he shot Kifer again when she gasped for breath.

Brady and Kifer were linked to a burglary of Richard Johnson’s home on Hilton Road in Little Falls the night prior to the break-in at Smith’s home. Officers found items in the vehicle they were driving that had been stolen from the residence, including prescription medications with Johnson’s name on them.

Smith is being held in the Morrison County Jail on $2 million bail without conditions or $1 million bail with conditions. His next hearing is set for Monday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m. at the Morrison County Courthouse.