MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Week two of the Byron Smith trial will begin Monday. The defense is expected to continue to present witnesses who will testify that Smith was living in a state of fear because of a series of break-ins at his home.
Smith is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Halie Kifer, who he shot and killed after they broke into his home.
One of the big questions now is whether Smith will take the stand in his own defense.
The trial has captured national attention as it focuses on the issues of a homeowner’s rights versus how far is too far, when it comes to defending yourself and your property.
No one disputes that Kifer and Brady broke into Smith’s home. Or that Smith had been the victim of several robberies, including one where two guns were stolen.
The biggest problem for the defense is a chilling audio tape of the murders, in which Smith can be heard shooting Brady and then seems to taunt Kifer by saying “sorry” to her as he continues to shoot her.
The question now is, will the defense put Smith on the stand? Joe Tamburino is a Twin Cities criminal defense attorney. He appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“When you take the stand you open yourself up to cross examination, which means the prosecution gets a free shot at you and can ask you all kinds of things, about why you did certain things or said certain things,” he said. “So unless you really have to explain something you err on the side of safety and not take the stand.”
The defense has had some strong moments, as well. Neighbors testified that Smith was so shaken by a previous break-in, they did’t recognize him. A sheriff’s deputy testified Smith had even filed a police report before the killings, suggesting he was concerned that his own stolen guns could be used against him in any future break-in.
You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.