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Little Falls Homeowner Pleads Not Guilty In Teens’ Deaths

Byron Smith
Morrison County Jail photo

LITTLE FALLS (AP) – A Minnesota homeowner accused of fatally shooting two teenagers breaking into his house has pleaded not guilty.

Byron Smith faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Haile Kifer and Nicholas Brady.

Smith’s attorney, Steven Meshbesher, said he doesn’t want Thursday’s plea  to be interpreted as a waiver against a pending petition to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Meshbesher wants the high court to review a Morrison County judge’s denial of a defense motion to overturn the grand jury’s indictment against Smith.

Smith is accused of killing the unarmed cousins after they broke into his house north of Little Falls on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

Jury selection for Smith’s trial is expected to begin April 14. A pretrial hearing is set for March 25.

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