Man Charged in Thanksgiving Day Murder of two Teens

By KBJR News 1

November 26, 2012 Updated Nov 26, 2012 at 9:59 PM CDT

Little Falls, MN (NNCNOW.COM) -- A central Minnesota man has been charged with the murders of two teenagers after he accused them of breaking into his home on Thanksgiving.

64-year-old Byron David Smith was charged Monday with two counts of 2nd degree murder. Bail was set at $1 million with conditions including surrendering any firearms.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by KARE 11, Smith told authorities that he shot 17-year-old Nicholas Brady Schaeffel and his cousin, 18 year old Haile Kifer, after they broke into his home.

Smith told authorities he shot Schaeffel three times with a Mini 14 Rifle.

Minutes later, Smith shot Kifer as she came down the stairs. When his gun jammed, Smith claims Kifer began laughing, causing him to become angry.

The complaint says Smith then grabbed a .22 revolver and shot Kifer several times in the chest.

When he realized she was still gasping for air, he fired a bullet into her head, describing it as quote "a good clean finishing shot."

Both bodies were left in his workshop for a full day and night before a friend called police.

Morrison County Authorities say investigators believe Smith went beyond his legal boundaries to defend his home, considering Smith acknowledged both teens were unarmed.

"When it becomes clear that there is no longer a threat to you. When it becomes clear that nobody can continue to commit a felony in your home, you are no longer entitled to take a life," said Sheriff Michel Wetzel.

Police say the law also states you need to notify authorities if you have used force. In this case, they say it was a neighbor who tipped them off about the bodies in the house.

Authorities say they only know of one attempt reported to police. No suspect has been tied to that case.

Smith is expected back in court on December 17th.

Kevin Jacobsen
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