Defense files notice of motion to dismiss murder charges against Smith

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

A contested omnibus hearing for Byron David Smith, the Little Falls man charged with two counts of murder in the first degree (premeditated), is set for Aug. 30, at 10 a.m., in Morrison County District court.

Smith, 64, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder in November 2012, in the shooting deaths of Haile Kifer and Nick Brady, cousins who were allegedly breaking into his home Thanksgiving Day.

In April, Smith was indicted on two counts of first-degree premeditated murder by a Morrison County grand jury.

In his notice of motions to the court, Tuesday, Steve Meshbesher, Smith’s defense attorney, indicates he will ask that the two counts of murder in the first degree against Smith be dismissed with prejudice. He cites lack of probable cause, several individual and cumulative errors in the grand jury process, rule and statutory violations, violations of Smith’s state and federal constitutional rights and for prosecutorial misconduct, as reasons for the dismissal.

In addition, Meshbesher will request that Smith’s statements to law enforcement at his residence and at the Morrison County Sheriff’s office the day after the shootings be suppressed, as well as physical evidence recovered from Smith’s residence.

Meshbesher requested a post-hearing to allow the parties to file additional legal documents based on hearing testimony related to the admissibility of statements, physical evidence and other matters that arise at the Aug. 30 hearing.

In July, the Court agreed motions could be filed until Aug. 7 with responses to those motions offered by Aug. 14, to give Judge Douglas P. Anderson, two weeks time to consider the motions.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput is the prosecutor in the case, assisted by Washington County Assistant Attorney, Brent Wartner.