BREAKING — Court to Announce Jury’s Verdict in Byron Smith Murder Trial
BREAKING NEWS -- THE JURY HAS REACHED A VERDICT IN THE BYRON SMITH MURDER CASE. WE ARE AWAITING THE READING OF THEIR VERDICT IN LITTLE FALLS AND WILL REPORT WHEN THAT HAPPENS. KEEP TUNED TO AM 1240 WJON AND WATCH WJON.COM FOR UPDATES THIS AFTERNOON.
LITTLE FALLS -- The murder trial of a Little Falls man charged with fatally shooting two teenagers who broke into his home on Thanksgiving Day 2012 has been sent to the jury.
Prosecution's closing argument:
The prosecution stated this is “a very serious but simple case.” State attorney Pete Orput delivered his final argument this morning in the Byron Smith murder trial.
He believes there is evidence to prove that Smith had a plan and a determination to kill 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer. Orput told the jury that every time Smith pulled the trigger he had a choice to consider.
Orput said that at 10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day 2012 Smith met with his neighbor William Anderson. The two saw their neighbor Ashley Williams drive by. Orput says that is when he believes Smith decided to move his truck away from his house. Orput says Smith made sure there was a tarp nearby the basement, and activated his digital recorder.
Orput says evidence shows there was a bottle of water and snacks next to the chair along with a novel. The state claims this is evidence of Smith lying in wait. Orput told the jury, “this sounds like deer hunting.” He also asked the jury to consider whether sitting in the chair and waiting for Brady to come down the stairs was Smith’s only option.
The prosecution played the audio recordings of the shooting again for the jury. During the presentation Smith’s hands were covering his face and he appeared to be crying.
The audio from after the shootings were played for the court again and a transcript of the audio was displayed on a projector screen with a time reference to the shootings.
Transcript of audio of Smith talking to himself before and after the shootings:
24 minutes before the shootings: “In your left eye.”
18 minutes before the shootings: “Bruce, ah stop by tomorrow morning, no rush but as soon as convenient. Can you do that? Uh park to the north 100 feet…no…100 yards north of the corner and walk in from the west .” (Defense says Smith didn’t talk to his brother until after the killings took place.)
11 minutes before shootings: I realize I don’t have an appointment but I would like to see one of the lawyers here.”
The prosecution claims that the audio was a rehearsal of what to say after the shootings
56 minutes after shootings: “No rush, but ya know, as it’s convenient for you.”
57 minutes after shootings: “I left my house at 11:30. They were both dead by 1.”
1 hour 40 minutes after shootings: “ I felt like I was cleaning up a mess. Worse than spilled food. Worse than vomit, worse than shit. Cleaning up a mess.
1 hour 40 minutes after shooting: “You’re dead.”
1 hour 42 minutes after shootings: “there was a major complication in my life. You really don’t want to know. Believe me. You don’t want to know.”
1 hour 43 minutes after shootings: “I am not a bleeding heart liberal. I felt like I was cleaning up a mess. Not like spilled food. Not like vomit. Not even like…not even like diarrhea. The worse mess possible. And I was stuck with it…in some tiny little respect…in some tiny little respect. I was doing my civic duty. If the law enforcement system couldn’t handle it, I had to do it. I had to do it. The law system couldn’t handle her and if it fell into my lap and she dropped her problem in my lap…and she threw her own problem in my face. And I had to clean it up."
1 hour 46 minutes after shootings: “I have no yet called the sheriff.”
1 hour 46 minutes after shootings: “They weren’t human I don’t see them as human. I see them as vermin, social mistakes. Social problems. I don’t see them as…human. This bitch was going to go through her life, destroying things for other people. Thieving, robbing, drug use. “
4 hours 32 minutes after shootings: "Cool, exciting, highly profitable until someone kills you. It’s begging to have him shoot me. That's like begging to have him shoot me. Yep…you should see the rugs on the basement floor."
4 hours 45 minutes after shootings: “It’s a sucker shot people going down strange stairs naturally watch the steps. Like I give a damn who she is. Like I care who she is."
4 Hours 56 minutes after shootings: “I’m sorry, so much regret. I try to be a good person. I try to do what I should. Be friendly to other people. Help them when I can. Try to be a good citizen. Not cheat people. Be fair. A bad family raises a bad person like this. And because I try to be a decent person they think I’m a patsy. I’m a sucker. They think I’m there for them to take advantage of. Is that the reward for being a good person? And then they dump this mess on me. It’s not a mess like spilled food. It’s not a mess like vomit. It’s not even a mess like diarrhea. It’s far worse. Then they take slice after slice out of me."
4 hours and 58 minutes after shootings: “five thousand… five thousand dollar slice, ten thousand dollar slice. And if I gather enough evidence they might be prosecuted. If they are prosecuted, it might go to court. If it goes to court they might be found guilty. If they are found guilty they might spend six months to two years in jail, and they’re out. And, they need money worse than ever and they are filled with revenge. I cannot live like that. I can’t have that chewing on me for the rest of my life. I cannot. I refuse to live with that level of fear in my life."
5 hours and 8 minutes after shootings: “She’s tough, she’s eye candy. It's games. Its exciting and it’s highly profitable, until somebody kills you. Until you go too far and somebody kills you. Until you try to take advantage of somebody who is not a sucker, who is not a patsy.”
5 hours and 22 minutes after shootings: “Mother and father are both semi psychotic. I put even odds that one or the other will come over here with a gun."
Orput ended by saying, “Now it is your case. You know what happened. You know what his state of mind was. I’m asking you now to bring back just verdicts. That’s all.”
Defense's closing argument
In his closing argument standing at a podium Steve Meshbesher told the jury, “this is a case about courage.” The defense recounted what they believe happened on November 22nd, 2012.
Meshbesher said Brady and Kifer drove together and parked in a hidden location. The two got out of the car and were trespassing onto Smith’s property.
Brady had a hood on his face and gloves on his hands. He used a steal rod to break a double pain window. The defense brought a double pain glass window into the courtroom for the jurors to see.
Meshbesher told the jury that homes are where people live to feel safe. He continued that Brady climbed into Smith’s home through the window. Minutes later after hearing three gunshots Kifer crawled in through the same window.
The defense argues that the three gunshots should have warned her not to enter the home. They believe that Kifer thought that the shots came from Brady which is why she came looking for him.
The defense said if the two teenagers wouldn’t have committed a felony burglary then they would still be alive today.
Meshbesher stated that Smith did not ask the teenagers to come over to his home, rather they came voluntarily. The defense reminded the jury that the state has the burden of proof.
Meshbesher does not believe that the state has enough evidence to convict Smith of the murder charges. He stated that there are no official records that indicate if the workshop phone was working in Smith’s basement.
The phone was not analyzed or taken in as evidence. Meshbesher also stated that the jury heard no audio regarding the light bulbs being unscrewed. The defense ended their final argument by thanking the jury and again stating that Smith was acting in self defense and defending his dwelling.
The prosecution was allowed to rebuttal the defense’s closing argument. During that time Orput said that the reason why the metal pipe wasn’t taken into evidence was because Brady had been wearing gloves. He also said it was unnecessary to take the workshop phone in as evidence because a BCA agent had made a phone call from the phone with witnesses present.
Judge Douglas Anderson addressed the jury one final time before dismissing them into deliberation.