LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — As the defense rested Monday, defense attorney Steven Meshbesher told reporters it was his decision to not have Byron Smith testify.
Smith is on trial in Morrison County for two first-degree murder indictments in the Thanksgiving Day 2012 shooting deaths of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer after the teenagers entered Smith’s rural Little Falls home without permission.
Closing arguments are set for today.
Meshbesher said Smith was willing to take the stand. “He was wanting to do anything,” Meshbesher said. “He was taking my advice.”
In his instructions to jurors, Judge Douglas Anderson explained that returning a guilty verdict in the first-degree indictments would require the jury to conclude Smith’s actions were premeditated. A guilty verdict of second-degree murder still requires the jury to conclude that intentionally causing death, but without premeditation.
According to Minnesota law, a crime is not committed when action is taken by a person to prevent the commission of a felony in his own home. It is alleged that Brady and Kifer were intending to commit a burglary in Smith’s home.