Thursday, May 1, 2014

When Stand Your Ground Won't Protect You From Killing People

Minnesota law allows the use of deadly force to prevent a felony from taking place in one's home or dwelling, but one's actions must be considered reasonable under the circumstances.

18-year-old Haile Kifer and 17-year-old Nick Brady
Prosecutors said Smith's plan was set in motion on the morning of the killings, after Smith saw a neighbor whom he believed responsible for prior burglaries.

On the day of the killings Smith moved his truck to make it look like no one was home, and then settled into a basement chair with a book, energy bars, a bottle of water and two guns. Smith also set up a hand-held recorder on a bookshelf, which captured audio of the shootings.

At the beginning of the tape Smith calls his lawyer's office making an appointment for the following day. The audio, which was played several times in court, captured the sound of glass shattering, and Brady descending the basement stairs and then the sound of Smith shooting Brady three times. At 3:20 Smith can be heard saying, "You're dead." Prosecutors said Smith put Brady's body on a tarp and dragged him into another room, then sat down, reloaded his weapon and waited.

About 10 minutes later, Kifer came downstairs apparently looking for Brady. One shot is heard, and as Kifer cries out Smith walks up to her and says "Oh, sorry about that" then three more shots are heard on the recording as Kifer screams again and again. Then Smith tells Kifer, "You're dying," followed soon by the sound of one final gunshot, which investigators said Smith described as "a good, clean finishing shot."

Later on the recording, Smith refers to the teens as "vermin." Smith waited a full day before asking a neighbor to call police. Then entire 30 minute recording unedited can be heard here.

The recording was of course Smith's undoing and while Smith may have thought he had every right to execute the two teens, that isn't what the Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground laws recognize.

The jury deliberated less than 3 hours, Smith was found guilty of two counts of first and second degree murder and sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

Detailed coverage from the Star Tribune here.

Cedar's Take: While justice was served, the fact remains that two teens lost their lives because of their need for drugs. And the out come of the trial would have been much different without the tape and if the teens were not attractive white kids in a small rural town. But the tape proved Smith was not in fear, but rather nothing more than a sadistic killer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

while i dont condone what the fella in minnesota did, bottom line to me (and seems to be overlooked) is the fact that the teens should not have been there to begin with. Its a roll of the dice when you decide to break into a home chancing the fact it could be a raging psychos house. stop breaking the law assholes.