A Minnesota man who killed two teenagers in his home on Thanksgiving Day was charged with murder Monday after he told investigators he shot the two at close range before "finishing" them with shots to the head.
Byron David Smith, 64, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder without premeditation in Morrison County District Court in the deaths of Nicholas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18. The pair were cousins.
Smith claims Brady and Kifer broke into his home in Little Falls, about 90 miles northwest of Minneapolis, and that he was "fearful" they had weapons, according to the criminal complaint.
A person can use deadly force to stop a felony inside their home, but it "has to be reasonable," Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said at a press conference Monday afternoon.
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"I've never seen anything like this," said County Attorney Brian Middendorf.
In one of the more bizarre elements of the shooting, Smith told police he did not reach out to authorities for an entire day because "he didn't want to trouble us on a holiday," Wetzel said.
Wetzel declined to comment on Smith's state of mind.
According to the criminal complaint:
While sitting in his basement, Smith heard footsteps upstairs in his house and a window breaking. He then saw Brady walking down the stairs into the basement, and he shot the boy with a Mini 14 rifle. Smith said he then shot Brady in the face and, as Brady lay on the floor looking up at him, Smith shot him again. Smith told investigators, "I want him dead."
Smith put Brady's body in a tarp, dragged it into his basement workshop and then "sat back down in his chair," the criminal complaint said.
A few minutes later, Smith again heard footsteps above him -- and, just as Brady did, Kifer came down the stairs. Smith shot her, sending her tumbling. As he attempted to shoot her again, Smith's gun jammed, and the young woman, though wounded, laughed at him, he told authorities. Upset, Smith shot her "more times than I needed to" in the chest with a .22-caliber revolver, he said.
Smith dragged Kifer, who was gasping for her life, and placed her next to Brady's body, Smith told officers. Then Smith positioned the revolver's barrel under her chin and pulled the trigger in what he described as a "good, clean finishing shot" meant to end her suffering, he said.
The next day, Smith asked a neighbor if he or she knew any lawyers and then asked the neighbor to contact authorities.
When investigators arrived, Smith invited them in, showed them the bodies and was arrested.
Kifer was a senior at Little Falls High School, where she competed in swimming and gymnastics.