When Byron Smith realized intruders were breaking into his house, he readied himself with a .22 caliber pistol and shot them as they entered the basement. However, audio recordings and CCTV footage later proved that the intruders, Haile Kifer and Nick Brady, posed no threat and that he literally executed them after leaving them injured on the floor. ‘Dateline: Secrets Uncovered: Trouble at the 7-11 Ranch’ chronicles the gruesome double homicide and portrays how the law eventually caught up to the homeowner. If you are intrigued by the crime’s details and want to find out where Byron Smith is today, we have you covered.
Who is Byron Smith?
Byron Smith, a Little Falls, Minnesota resident, lived a reasonably quiet life. People who knew him described him as a well-behaved neighbor who mostly kept to himself and had just a handful of friends. Yet, Byron behaved amicably with others around him, and nothing in his demeanor appeared out of the ordinary. He was even known to participate in community events and help people in need. Reports mentioned that Byron’s house was robbed multiple times in the days leading up to Haile and Nick’s murder.
Although the homeowner suspected Nick of being involved in the burglaries, there was no evidence to connect the teenager to the crime, making it challenging for the former to take the necessary actions. Regardless, he was determined to catch the thieves red-handed and make them pay. Interestingly, Byron had an inkling that Haile and Nick would try and break into his house on November 22, 2012. Thus, he took off all the lightbulbs, readied an audio recording device, and even drove his car to his neighbor’s house to give the teens a false sense of security.
Although, in reality, the homeowner had armed himself with a .22 caliber revolver and was waiting in a concealed position in his basement. From his hiding place, he heard Nick break in through the top-floor window before going downstairs. But as the teenager entered the basement, Byron revealed himself and shot Nick multiple times. Once the 17-year-old collapsed on the ground from his injuries, he stood over him and shot him in the head before dragging the body away. In the minutes following Nick’s murder, Byron took a trip upstairs before returning to his spot in the basement.
Shortly after, Haile came calling after her cousin, and Byron immediately shot her down. The CCTV footage and audio recording showed that she was horrified at her injuries and was almost begging the homeowner to spare her life when he shot her under her chin and placed her body on top of Nick’s. Byron then cleaned the area and kept the bodies in a closet before informing the police on November 24, 2012. Once first responders received news about the double homicide, they rushed to the location to find Nick and Haile’s bodies stacked on top of each other with the blood pooling below.
At first glance, it was evident that the victims were shot, while an autopsy later determined that both Nick and Haile were injured before the murderer shot them dead from close range. Surprisingly, when questioned, Byron seemed unperturbed by the situation and claimed he did not regret killing the intruders. Instead, the homeowner insisted he was scared of being attacked and even alleged that Haile mocked him when he initially injured her, which forced him to kill the teen.
Soon, a thorough search of the house revealed CCTV footage and the audio recording device, documenting the incident in detail. While going through the recordings, the police realized that much of Byron’s statement was false as the teenagers never posed him any threat. On top of it, they discovered he had lied about Haile mocking him since she clearly sounded horrified on the recording. Hence, after carefully considering the evidence, authorities arrested Byron and charged him with murder.
Where is Byron Smith Now?
When presented in court, Byron Smith pled not guilty and insisted he was protecting his property from intruders. Nevertheless, even though Minnesota allows homeowners to use deadly force, one cannot kill indiscriminately without a viable threat.
Consequently, Byron was convicted on two counts of pre-meditated first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder, which saw him sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2014. Byron tried to get his conviction overturned in the years following his sentencing, but the courts rejected his petitions. Therefore, he remains incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.
Read More: Haile Kifer and Nick Brady Murders: How Did They Die? Who Killed Them?