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Nancy Grace Mysteries: The Byron Smith Murder Case

Aired May 2, 2014 - 20:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Byron Smith admitted to police that he shot and killed 18-year-old Haile Kifer and her cousin, 17-year-old Nick Brady, after they broke into his home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I noticed that the second victim was still gasping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Smith told us he then placed his .22-caliber pistol under the victim`s chin and fired a final shot.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: When I first heard about the case, I assumed it would be open and shut, right? A senior citizen sitting in his own home, minding his own business, is broken into. Intruders come into his home. And this is not for the first time. He`s been burglarized many times before. They come into his home to burglarize again, possibly even kill him, and he shoots them before they can shoot him, right? Open and shut.

This is called the castle law in Minnesota. But it`s essentially the same across the country. You`re in your home, you`re broken into, you can shoot the intruder to protect yourself. It didn`t play out exactly that way in the case of Byron Smith.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was murder. And those are two young lives that were taken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve heard from both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the right to defend your home. He`s been through hell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But for the first time, we heard from investigators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My office received a call from a neighbor indicating that he suspected Byron Smith may have killed somebody in his home just north of Little Falls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened next was a discovery even the Morrison (ph) County attorney says he`s never encountered. According to the criminal complaint, 64-year-old Byron Smith admitted to police that he shot and killed 18-year-old Haile Kifer and her cousin, 17-year-old Nick Brady, after they broke into his home Thanksgiving Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law doesn`t permit you to execute somebody once the threat is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The complaint alleges Smith shot Brady while he walked into the basement. He then fell to the ground. That`s when Smith allegedly shot him again. Authorities say he shot Kifer in a similar fashion when she walked downstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And at that time, noticed that the second victim was still gasping. Mr. Smith told us he then placed his .22-caliber pistol under the victim`s chin and fired a final shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did this, say police, to, quote, "end her suffering." Smith, however, never called police. Instead, he alerted a neighbor the following day to do so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law also requires that you notify law enforcement and attempt to render aid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Friends describe Smith as a smart guy who retired from the U.S. State Department after doing surveillance work for the government. They also say he volunteered for the Boy Scouts in the area. But now he`s accused of killing two teens and turning a town upside down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This doesn`t happen in our community.


GRACE: Byron Smith, a 65-year-old senior citizen and war veteran, lived alone in his home. He had been broken into many times, possibly up to a dozen -- stolen, jewelry, thousands of dollars of cash, electronics, even his war medals.

At this point, he was living in fear, according to him. In the neighborhood, there had been a rash of burglaries, including his home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you specifically tell Bill that you had maybe shot somebody that broke into your house or anything or...

BYRON SMITH, CHARGED WITH MURDER: The same people, the same pattern. It goes back a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. When did that start? When did it start where...

SMITH: The first time it happened, it was, I`m guessing, 12 to 15 years ago -- and there was a sheriff`s report on it, when they broke into the garage and tore up a bunch of packing cases. I had not gone to anyone for Thanksgiving. I am somewhat uncomfortable with other people`s family holidays. Some people enjoy them and it helps them feel at home. I feel, like, a little out of place. It`s not the kind of social thing I do.


GRACE: This all happened on Thanksgiving day. Byron Smith, sitting alone in his home -- he`s in his basement, sitting in his easy chair. It sounds innocent, right? But the more facts we learn make it seem more nefarious. We learn that Byron Smith is, yes, sitting in his easy chair, but he has kind of booby-trapped the furniture in his home to catch burglars. He`s flanked on either side by bookshelves so no one can see that he`s sitting there. He`s sitting with bottles of water, snacks, energy bars, and two loaded weapons, waiting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Family members became worried when Haile and Nick missed Thanksgiving dinner. On Friday, Morrison County deputies received a concerning call regarding the home owner living on the edge of the Mississippi. When confronted, the 64-year-old man told police he shot and killed the teens when they broke into his house on Thanksgiving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did he wait 24 hours to report it? That`s what I don`t get. I don`t understand that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A neighbor tells Carol Evan (ph), the home owner had been victim of several recent break-ins and was upset after defending himself.


GRACE: Enter the two teens, neighborhood teens. They were Nick Brady, age 17, and his cousin, Haile Kifer, age 18. Now, we suspect that Nick had broken into other homes in the neighborhood, including this home. Haile was visiting for Thanksgiving. It seems as if she`s just along for the ride. Well, it was some ride.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I hear someone rattling the upstairs door by the garage, where everybody comes and goes. This is wrong. I hear somebody walking across the deck. It`s got the wooden planks, so you can hear people walk on it. And then somebody was rattling the upstairs door. And I`m getting seriously stressed because somebody wants in and they`re trying to sneak in. And it`s happened before.


GRACE: On that day, Byron Smith is sitting, as I said, in his easy chair, and he hears someone trying to get into his home. Also, we know all this because of state`s exhibit number one. Byron Smith had a home surveillance system in place that videoed much of what went down that day.

He finally hears the breaking of glass. He knows somebody`s coming in, doesn`t call 911. He doesn`t scream out for help, he doesn`t scream out to warn the burglars, Hey, I hear you, you`re about to get shot. Nothing.

Brady comes down the stairs, and according to what we can tell from the forensics, he turns to leave when he realizes somebody`s at home and takes the first shot, at least, on the back left shoulder. After that, he`s shot two more times.

It`s very plain to see and hear on the surveillance video that Byron Smith then takes him, puts him on a tarp -- you can hear Byron Smith huffing and puffing, breathing heavily from physical exertion -- and drags him over the room on the tarp, away from his carpet so the boy wouldn`t bleed to death on Byron Smith`s carpet.

Shortly after that, Haile Kifer comes down the stairs, and you can hear her say, Nick? Nick? She`s looking for her cousin. And then, boom, she`s shot. Both of these teens are unarmed. She falls. You then can hear Byron Smith say, You`re dying, bitch.


SMITH: You`re dead. Oh, sorry about that.

HAILE KIFER, VICTIM: Oh, my God. Oh! Oh! Oh, my God!


I feel a little bit safer. Not totally safe. I`m still shaking a bit, but a little bit safer. I left my house at 11:30. They were both dead by 1:00. I refuse to live in fear. I felt like I was cleaning up a mess, worse than spilled food, worse than vomit, worse than (EXPLETIVE DELETED), cleaning up a mess. You`re dead!


GRACE: He puts the girl on the tarp so she, too, would not bleed on his basement carpet and make a mess. Standing over her, he says that she gives a death twitch. He says again, You`re dying, bitch. And then takes his gun to the girl he knows to be dying, puts the weapon to her left neck, just behind the ear, and pulls the trigger. He also puts the gun up under her chin, execution-style, and pulls the trigger, and then says, You`re dead, bitch.

Compared the two teens to vermin, to vomit, to diarrhea. He says they are his mess now that he has to clean up, that he`s stuck with. He says he did his civic duty in killing them. And again, you cannot underestimate the power of that home surveillance video. Take a listen.


SMITH: I felt like I was cleaning up a mess, not like spilled food, not like vomit, not even like -- not even like diarrhea, the worst mess possible. And I was stuck with it. I was doing my civic duty. It`s the law enforcement system (INAUDIBLE) I had to do it. I had to do it. It`s the law system (INAUDIBLE) and it fell in my lap. And she dropped her problem in my lap and she threw her problem in my face, and I had to clean it up. I have not yet called the sheriff. They weren`t together (ph). I don`t see them as human. I see them as vermin.


GRACE: He then chooses not to call police, not to call 911, and leaves the bodies there. It`s only the next day that Byron Smith calls a neighbor and says, I think I`ve got a solution. I think I`ve solved a problem. I think I solved our problem. Well, The neighbor knew right then that something very bad had gone down. The neighbor ultimately calls 911, not Byron Smith.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we got back, I`d noticed on the caller ID that Byron had called. And when Byron would call me, he would never leave a message. You know, as many years as I`ve known him, he`s never left a message. You checked the caller ID is on there, and I called him back. I called Byron back.

At that point, Byron said, I broke open those break-ins out here. I broke it open. And could you do me a favor and find me a lawyer? Several things went through my mind that afternoon. You know, did I know what happened down there? No, I didn`t. I did not know.

But the tone of his voice, the fear that`s been in his body since the June of 2012, it was -- I knew it was serious. This man had so much -- you know, I don`t -- I don`t want to call it anger. I`m going to call it fear because these kids have stolen his guns. He had no idea at what point they were going to come back. He had no idea at all. But you could just tell that, you know, from October 27th, to November 22nd, he had so much fear. He was -- he was -- he was scared for his life.


GRACE: Now, we learned from one of Byron Smith`s neighbors that he, Smith, said that the reason he installed a home security system, is because he really deeply believed that he would be killed in his own home some day and that he wanted that on video to catch the killer. It was a type of a system, as you know, that had very high-grade, highly-pixelated video, plus very sensitive audio. And he would wake up every morning and reset that security system to start recording for the day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The audiotape that Byron made on Thanksgiving day -- you know, I really want to tell you that October 27th break-in -- Mr. Smith started that tape every morning. He started that tape every morning because he had no clue, he had no clue when this -- if it was even going to happen again.

But the reason why Byron made this tape was, is that if he would lose his life over this stuff, there would be some evidence there for the local law to see what happened at his house.

And I don`t think that people understand that that tape was made for Byron`s safety and that if he would have been murdered, or whatever, they would have something there for him.

He started the tape every morning. The tape, I think, had about 24 hours worth of tape on it. And every morning, he would start this tape over. The tape ran from the 27th of October, through when the local law shut it off.

SMITH: This (EXPLETIVE DELETED) was going through her life spoiling things for other people, stealing, robbing, drug use. Like I give a damn who she is. Like I care who she is.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a time when they came in and they stole his guns. They stole his guns -- to be honest with you, I want to say maybe July or August they stole his guns. That`s when the fear really got in this man. The fear was there. And when he was talking to me that Sunday morning, he said, How would you feel if your guns were stolen?


GRACE: Anyway, long story short. He provided, on a silver platter, the state`s most powerful evidence, his home surveillance video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Photos taken by investigators show an elaborate set-up of cameras on the outside of Byron Smith`s Little Falls home, cameras that captured images of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer breaking into the bedroom window. But it was the sound captured by digital recorders, recorders strategically placed around the home by Smith, that served as an earwitness to the shootings. Smith could be heard talking to himself...

SMITH: I`m sorry. So much regret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... after he shot Brady and Kifer as they walked down the stairs into the lower level of his home. Photos show the chair hidden between two bookcases where he waited with a loaded revolver and a rifle. Water, snacks, and a novel were close by.

SMITH: It`s all fun, cool, exciting, highly profitable until somebody kills you. 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.

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, 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.


GRACE: But whoopsie! He forgot to tell the cops about that recording system. They found it themselves.


SMITH: And if I gather enough evidence, they might be prosecuted. If they`re prosecuted, it might go to court. If it goes to court, they might be found guilty. If they`re found guilty, they might spend six months, two years in jail. And then they`re out, and they need money worse than ever, and they`re filled with revenge.

I cannot live a life like that. I cannot 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.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutors alleged Smith was lying in wait in his basement, armed and planning to kill the teens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Audio recordings taken inside of Byron Smith`s home on the day of the shootings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could hear Smith talking to himself after the shootings. Smith says, I`m safe now. Cute. I`m sure she thought she was a real pro.


GRACE: Now, to hear the arguments in court, the arguments of the prosecution versus the arguments of the defense, you wouldn`t even know they were talking about the same case. The prosecution compared 65-year- old Byron Smith to a hunter, and his easy chair his deer stand, his home the forest, the two teens his prey.

He compared the set-up that Byron Smith had come up with to a deer stand, where he had his snacks, his energy bars, his bottled water, his two loaded guns. He`s sitting there hidden in wait in his perch, waiting for his prey to get within his sights.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Day two of the Byron Smith murder trial. Today, the jury heard a chilling audio recording on the day of the murders from inside Byron Smith`s home. What they heard was 14 minutes of that audio, and it begins like this. They hear glass breaking. That is Nick Brady breaking into Smith`s home. A couple of minutes pass. You hear footsteps. And Byron Smith all this time is waiting in his basement with two loaded guns.

You then hear Nick Brady start to descend the stairs. Next you hear two gunshots. You hear Nick Brady groan, fall down the stairs. Then you hear one more gunshot. And then you hear Byron Smith say to Nick Brady, You`re dead.

Now about 11 minutes pass on that audiotape, and you then hear Haile Kifer`s footsteps. She starts to come down the stairs. As she falls down the stairs, you hear Byron Smith say to her, Oh, sorry about that. You then hear Haile Kifer start to scream. She says, Oh, my God. I`m sorry. She`s then shot four more times. And then about 45 seconds pass, you then hear one final gunshot, and then you hear Smith swear at Haile Kifer and call her a name.


GRACE: The defense portrays Byron Smith as an elderly senior citizen living alone that has been victimized over and over and over, most likely by the same teen, who has stolen thousands of dollars, jewelry, watches, even Byron Smith`s war medals, for Pete`s sake, and was coming back again to feed at the trough.

He portrays Byron Smith as an easy target, a patsy that has been burglarized over and over and over and has been reduced to living in fear in his own home. Those are two starkly contrasting theories. He portrays Byron Smith as deeply in fear, that Smith continued to shoot because he was afraid one of the teens could have been armed and could have reached for a gun.

And the defense had a chorus that they kept singing to the jury. It was like an echo over and over and over. These are killings, true. But this is no murder. Killings, yes. Murder, no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: BCA (ph) forensic scientists and special agents were questioned about the evidence collected from inside and outside of Byron Smith`s burfront (ph) home in Little Falls. Defense attorney Steve Meshbesher (ph) challenged their techniques and questioned the quality of their work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked them a lot of questions, and the answers were kind of inconclusive and not certain and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meshbesher asked for a mistrial after learning there were notes taken by those forensics specialists that he had not seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had requested those for months. And then I didn`t even know they existed. And then I find out that, Oh, yes, we have all these notes. And then I went ask asked them to retrieve them. And he`s got about a hundred pages of things I haven`t even read.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That mistrial was denied. Prosecutors went on to show video of cousins Nick Brady and Haile Kifer casing Smith`s home before they broke in on Thanksgiving morning 2012. Prosecutors also played more 29 minutes of audio. You could hear Smith talking to himself after the shootings.

Smith says, I`m safe now. Cute. I`m sure she thought she was a real pro. He went on to say, I feel a little bit safer, not totally safe, still shaking a bit. Smith could also be heard whispering to himself, I left home at 11:30. They were both dead by 1:00. He could also be heard telling himself, I refuse to live with that level of fear in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The feature of today`s testimony again, audio recordings taken inside of Byron Smith`s home on the day of the shootings. Yesterday, we heard the audio of the shootings. Today, it`s what Smith said after those shootings that was captured on that audio.

Here`s a few of the things Smith had to say just hours after Nick Brady and Haile Kifer were shot. Quote, "I feel a little bit safer, totally (sic) safe. I`m still shaking a bit, but a little bit safer," end quote. You also hear Smith say, "I was doing my civic duty. I had to do it." He then says near the end of the recording, quote, "They think I`m a patsy, a sucker, that I`m there to be taken advantage of. Is that the reward for being a good person? And then they dump this mess on me."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For six days, Byron Smith has heard witnesses describe the events leading up to and the shootings of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer. But today, his character was the underlying theme of the testimony. On the stand, his brother, Bruce, called him an honest man, saying, quote, "He`s highly regarded by everyone who knows our family."

The same answers came from his neighbors, the Langes (ph), who he`s been living with for the last year-and-a-half. Quote, "I would say, in my opinion, he`s honest," said 16-year-old John Dillon Lange (ph). But in the prosecution`s cross-examination, Smith`s attorney called for a mistrial, unhappy with the line of questioning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stated my objection. I thought the state went a little bit too far with that because it was limited to opinion of honesty, and that`s that (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dillon`s dad had this to say about the prosecution`s questioning of his son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not a nice person. You don`t treat my son like that when he`s a straight-A student. I`m not going to put up with it.


GRACE: The prosecution paints a completely different picture of Byron Smith, as a bitter old man who had perverse pleasure at continuing to shoot the two teen victims long after they posed a threat to him. He enjoyed shooting them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The jury will get the trial without Smith ever taking the stand, but Steve Meshbesher, his attorney, says, in a way, he already did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He, in fact, did testify -- the transcripts, the interviews. It was unnecessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And for the victims` families, a year-and-a-half after Haile and Nick lost their lives, closure is not far away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m very confident in the system, very confident in the case that was presented.


GRACE: Byron Smith chose not to take the stand. Now, many people think that that was the right decision. I don`t know that he could have survived cross-examination. But frankly, Byron Smith was still his own worst enemy. That videotape, that surveillance video in the home, basically, a nannycam, but it`s a surveillance tape -- showed the entire thing go down, with audio.

You can hear Byron Smith, the jury could hear him say, You`re dying, bitch. And then he shoots her again! You can hear him huffing and puffing as he drags them across the floor so they wouldn`t get his carpet bloody. I mean, at a time like that, he`s worried with getting his carpet bloody?


GRACE: So the case goes to the jury after a long, hard-fought and much publicized trial. The defendant, 65-year-old war vet Byron Smith, out on bond, comes into the courtroom every day immaculately dressed in a suit, flanked by lawyers.

The jury`s out for hours. They have a question. That question is, If he`s guilty of murder one, do we have to still consider murder two or the other lesser included offenses?

That was a signal, but it could be interpreted two different ways. One, if we begin deliberating and we find him guilty of murder one, do we have to consider murder two? Or, we`ve already decided he`s guilty of murder one, do we still need to go on to murder two? No one really knew what to think of it. Most court watchers were of the mind that as distasteful as the murders were, that he`s a king in his castle. You break in, you can get shot.

That`s not what the jury thought. Not only did the jury have home surveillance video, including audio, you know, in Dolby sound, they also had on video his interrogation with police. And they saw his demeanor. They saw his affect. They heard what he said about how killing the teens was his civic duty.

In that police video -- and I think you`ll agree with me -- there`s a complete lack of remorse. This was not about self-defense. This was a "get back." Yes, they were in his home. Yes, they were wrong. Yes, they risked being shot. But you can see that he feels justified and takes some perverse pleasure in continuing to shoot them even when they`re lying there, twitching in death.



SMITH: And I decide that I`ve got a choice of either shooting or being shot, which is sort of what I came to when I started carrying with me. Now, I`ve been -- this past month, I`ve felt very threatened inside my own home.


SMITH: And the guy came down the stairs, and I shot him. And I hear more footsteps coming down the hallway and somebody else starts down the stairs. And thinking back on it, what happened was -- everybody has red buttons. Everybody has sore spots. And I`ve known since grade school that being ganged up on is a sore spot with me. I just couldn`t think. I didn`t think. I wasn`t thinking. I was just, They`re ganging up on me. So I killed her, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sergeant Investigator Jeremy Luberts (ph) conducted the first interview with Smith, who waived his right to have an attorney present. Smith explains why he waited a full day to call police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That one really sticks out in my head. And you know, his answer -- he didn`t want to bother us on Thanksgiving. I mean, how many people would not call right away if something like that happened?



GRACE: Just three hours of deliberations, approximately, the jury hands down a verdict.


GRACE: Everybody, those of you just joining us, the verdict is in. That verdict is guilty. The home owner has been found guilty for gunning down two intruders that come into his home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a trial that lasted a week, it took jurors just three hours to find Byron Smith guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way he butchered Haile -- she`s a 96-pound young lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Family members of Haile Kifer and Nick Brady say they believe justice was served, but details released during trial of how the teenagers were killed will stay with them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to get up every day and go to court and look at the man who shot and killed my son and my niece. And I don`t believe he felt remorse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smith`s neighbor, John Lange, says the four guilty counts are excessive and the jury sent the wrong message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s very wrong and this just told every drug addict in the country that they can rob all the elderly people and break into their home and get away with it. It`s not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smith`s attorney, Steve Meshbesher, is already planning to appeal. He says evidence, including Facebook pictures of Nick Brady with guns, were not allowed in the trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants me to fight, continue the fight. We`re going right to the Supreme Court. We have every intention of doing so, and we`re preparing for it right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the defense is moving on, the prosecution is reflecting. Prosecutor Pete Orput (ph) says there are no winners in a case like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s about seeking justice. And justice was sought and we got it, and we`re grateful. However, at the same time, I don`t feel a sense of gloating. I just feel a sense of great sadness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A town divided by a river for the last 17 months, also divided by one case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think justice was served, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight was no exception.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a real tragedy, I mean, for everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Little Falls tragedy talked about on Main Street, then played out in brutal detail in a county courthouse. When the jury read the verdict, Byron sat silent. But the families of the teenagers did not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think often of what he could have been, and I see other young men with their dads or with their moms, and it`s really, really difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lost an amazing young lady. And she was a beautiful girl. And it was so senseless what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My first reaction to the verdict was I couldn`t believe it. The second thought I had in my -- in -- was the jury was in for three hours. I have never served on a jury. I have never been there. But I knew at one time, my wife was. So when I got home, you know, that -- shortly after that, and I got home, her and I sat down.

And we were not feeling, you know, the way we should have been feeling. When I was told that the verdict is out, and you know, and it was three hours, I really thought this was -- there as four charges against Byron. First degree two, you know, two first degree and two second degree. And I really to this day feel he did not get a fair shake because if there was four murders that they were talking about, they were talking about, it really bothered me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he would have just shot them and shut up about it, the jury might have stood by him. But instead, his callous comments took the jury away from him. They found that he was not reasonable in his actions and in defending his castle.

GRACE: Taking pleasure in the teens` deaths, saying, Bitch, you`re dying, and shooting her again execution-style behind the ear, shooting her up under the chin. Did that have anything to do with this 65-year-old home owner being found guilty in the last hours, guilty of gunning down two teen intruders?



GRACE: This case caused such an uproar in the community because you`ve got an elderly senior citizen, a war hero, pitted against two youth, unarmed. The fact that Byron Smith came out with two guns a-blazing and continued to shoot the teens execution-style, past the time that they were a threat to him, stretched the castle law to its limits.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am -- I am really -- I`ll use the word disappointed in the case in court simply because Mr. Meshbesher had witnesses that he wanted to get in court. The psychologist was one of the main ones I think was neglected to be able to testify because of the prosecution attorney and the judge.

And I do know the word fear -- we all have fear in our bodies. Everybody has fear. You may not show it, but there is fear. We all have fear. And I know that the psychologist could explain to the court, to the jury, that what Byron was going through.


GRACE: A verdict of guilty on all four counts, two counts of murder one, two counts of murder two. There is no death penalty in the Minnesota jurisdiction. That means now 65 will die behind bars with life without any possibility of parole.