4 Women, 2 Men Selected as Jurors for Little Falls Murder Trial

Updated: 04/15/2014 7:20 AM
Created: 04/13/2014 7:39 PM
By: Leslie Dyste

A central Minnesota man who claimed he was defending himself when he repeatedly shot and killed two unarmed teenagers in his home is scheduled to go on trial for murder charges.
Jury selection in the trial of 65-year-old Byron Smith of Little Falls began Monday. He faces two counts of premeditated first-degree murder for the 2012 killings of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.

Smith has claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot the teens after they entered his home. But authorities say he went too far, shooting them multiple times after they were no longer a threat.

Before Monday's jury selection began at 10:30 a.m., there were concerns on both sides that a jury might be hard to seat because many of the 130 names on the list were Facebook friends with the victims.

By Monday evening, six jurors, four women and two men, were selected to serve on the jury. Lawyers will need to agree on a total of 14 - which includes 12 jurors and two alternates.

KSTP's Beth McDonough reports evidence includes an audio taped confession, along with a videotape from Smith's home security system he installed after repeated break-ins.

Sixty names are on the witness list. It's not clear if Smith will take the stand in his own defense. His attorney believes what happened is a tragedy, but not a crime.
Defense attorney Steve Meshbesher says the evidence will show his client is not guilty. Prosecutor Pete Orput says he's looking forward to letting jurors decide whether Smith's actions were premeditated.

Due to the severity of the charges, if Smith is convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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