Appeal filed in Smith murder conviction

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

Byron Smith
Byron Smith

Attorneys for Byron Smith have appealed his first-degree murder conviction in Morrison County.

Smith, who will turn 66 in June, was convicted April 29 in the shooting deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and her cousin, Nick Brady, 17.

The two were shot as they broke into Smith’s home on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

The defense claimed self-defense and defense of home, but the prosecutors’ case centered on Smith’s pre-planning and that he continued to shoot the teens even after they were no longer a threat to him. Smith didn’t call law enforcement until the next day.

Jurors deliberated just over three hours to come to the verdict. Smith was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences, with no possibility of parole.

Smith’s defense attorney, Steve Meshbesher attempted several times to have the case dismissed or called for a mistrial.

Just days after Smith’s conviction, the paperwork was in the process of being drafted for the appeal.

At that time, Meshbesher said the appeal would be based on the fact that “The judge did not let a lot of evidence in that he should have,” he said.

Judge Douglas Anderson also didn’t allow testimony of a number of defense witnesses that Meshbesher said would speak to the fear Smith felt having been burglarized on multiple occasions.

Meshbesher has also filed with the court a document stating Smith intends to contest restitution ordered by the judge.

Judge Anderson ordered Smith to pay $21,859.70 in restitution to Kifer’s family. A restitution for Brady’s family has not yet been filed.