MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rep. Tony Cornish is a former police chief. But he differs with many former and current police chiefs when it comes to the “Castle Doctrine,” the measure that allows homeowners to use deadly force to defend their property.

Cornish has tried to expand the “Castle Doctrine” in Minnesota.

But the Republican from Good Thunder said the protections of such a law would not apply in the case of Byron Smith, based on what Cornish has learned.

Smith is the 64-year-old homeowner who admitted he shot and killed two teenagers near Little Falls after they apparently broke into his home on Thanksgiving day.

Cornish told WCCO’s Chad Hartman Tuesday that Smith’s actions, based on police reports, seemed to exceed the necessary force to stop a perceived threat.

“You could feasibly see (Smith) mounting a defense for the first shot,” Cornish said. “But after that initial one shot then he went completely out of the realm of reality and executed two helpless people.”

Cornish said based on police reports, and Smith’s own statements to investigators, it seems Smith went “haywire.”

Morrisson County prosecutors agree, and they’ve charged Smith with two counts of second-degree murder.

Cornish said with the DFL now in charge of both houses of the Minnesota Legislature, there is no chance for “Castle Doctrine” expansion in the upcoming session.

“Zero. It’s dead on arrival,” Cornish told Chad Hartman. “I’m not going to spin my wheels when I know something isn’t going to come to fruition.”

But he says he’s not giving up on the issue.

“What I’m going to do is just wait for a more friendly legislative body and governor down the road,” he said.


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