Judge Anderson says ‘no’ to request to hold up Smith trial process; sets Jan. 23 as plea hearing date

Morrison County District Judge Douglas Anderson  said “no” to a request from Byron Smith’s attorneys to delay proceedings in Smith’s murder case.

Smith’s attorney, Steven Meshbesher and Adam Johnson, asked for the delay after filing a petition Dec. 5 for a discretionary review by the Minnesota Court of Appeals of Anderson’s Nov. 22, 2013 decision to deny the dismissal of the first-degree murder charges against Smith.

Smith was charged with second degree murder following the shooting deaths of Haile Kifer and Nick Brady, who allegedly broke into his Little Falls home Nov. 22, 2012.

In April, a grand jury indicted Smith on two counts of first-degree premeditated murder in the shooting deaths.

Prosecutor Peter Orput asked that no delay be allowed at this time, but that the issue be addressed should the appellate court decide to review the case. Noting a decision from the appellate court could be expected within three weeks and that a possible trial date might be in April 2014, no delay was necessary.

“Keeping this  case moving is terribly important to the family and to the community,” Orput said.

Anderson noted that at this point, it would most likely be 75 days before a pretrial settlement hearing would take place and if the need  arose, a continuance could be granted at that time.

For now, Anderson asked that a plea hearing be set for Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, at 11 a.m.