LITTLE FALLS -- It was a gripping start to the Byron Smith murder trial as opening arguments got underway Monday morning at the Morrison County Government Center in Little Falls.

65-year-old Byron Smith is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the shooting deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer. The teens broke into Smith's Little Falls area home on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

The prosecution laid out the facts in the case which have been well reported over the last year and a half. But, prosecutors say 65-year-old Byron Smith was lying in wait in his basement with a book, some snacks and two guns. They say Smith even went as far as to park his pickup truck at a nearby neighbor's house to give the illusion he wasn't home and implying that he had set a trap for the teens.

Defense lawyer Steven Meshbesher painted a much different picture. Meshbesher said Smith had been victimized by burglars multiple times over the previous year and had taken to carrying a gun with him around his house as protection. Smith told investigators he had two guns stolen from his home in a previous burglary and was worried the thieves wouldn't be afraid to use them when they came back.

Defense lawyers are trying to show Smith has been cooperative and has nothing to hide in the case, but prosecutors are trying to convince the jury that Smith is a cold blooded killer who fired an excessive number of shots at the teens even after they no longer presented a threat.

Prosecutors also question why Smith didn't contact authorities about the shooting until the following day.

Testimony continues as day two of the trial gets back underway in Little Falls Tuesday.


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