(LITTLE FALLS, Minn.) — A Minnesota man who allegedly killed two suspected burglars Thanksgiving Day and kept their bodies in his home overnight before reporting the deaths to police said he fired “more shots than I needed,” according to a criminal complaint.
Byron David Smith, 64, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder Monday for the shooting deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady, 17. Smith appeared at a preliminary hearing in court Monday but did not enter a plea.
The Little Falls man is being held on $2 million bail and his attorney, Gregory Larson, did not respond to a request for comment.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said “a person has every right to defend themselves and their homes, even employing deadly force if necessary.”
In this case, however, authorities said they believe Smith crossed the line.
Smith told police he was sitting in his basement Nov. 22 — Thanksgiving Day — when he heard a window break upstairs and then footsteps, according to the complaint.
He first saw the feet, then the legs, then the hips of the intruder. Smith said he believed he fired twice at Brady with a Ruger Mini-14 rifle, causing the teen to tumble down the stairs, according to the complaint.
Smith then dragged the body on a tarp to his basement workshop.
Several minutes later, he told police, he heard more footsteps and waited until he saw Kifer’s hips as she descended the staircase.
“After shooting the person, she tumbled down the steps,” according to the complaint. “Smith stated that he tried to shoot her again with the Mini-14 but the gun jammed.”
At this point, he told police, Kifer laughed at him, describing it as a short laugh because she was in pain. But he said it “made him upset,” the complaint said.
“If you’re trying to shoot somebody and they laugh at you, you go again,” he told police, according to the complaint.
As Kifer gasped for air, Smith dragged her body next to Brady’s, according to the complaint, and placed a handgun under her chin and fired what he told police was a “good clean finishing shot” that went “under her chin up into the cranium.”
Neither of the teens had a weapon, but Smith told police he was afraid and had been burglarized in the past, according to the complaint.
Police said Smith called neighbors Friday, asking if they knew any lawyers. When the neighbors said they did not, Smith asked them to call authorities, according to the complaint.
Police responded to the call Friday and Smith led them to the teens’ bodies.
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