MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Little Falls, Minn. man accused of shooting and killing two teenagers who broke into his home will not testify in the case. Now, closing arguments are set to begin Tuesday morning.
On Monday, Smith waived his right to take the stand and the defense rested its case. He faces first-degree murder charges after admitting he shot and killed Nick Brady and Haile Kifer after they broke into his Little Falls home in November of 2012.
For six days, Smith has heard witnesses describe the events leading up to and the shooting of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer. But on Monday, his character was the underlying theme of the testimony. On the stand, his brother, Bruce, called him an honest man.
“He’s highly regarded by everyone who knows our family,” Bruce said.
His neighbors — the Lange family, who he’s been living with for the last year and a half — also had similar testimony.
“I would say, in my opinion, he’s honest,” said 16-year-old John Dilan Lange.
But during the prosecution’s cross examination of the youngest Lange, Smith’s defense called for a mistrial. Smith’s attorney, Steve Meshbesher, called line of questioning from the prosecution “inappropriate.”
“I stated my objection and I thought the state went too far with that because it was limited to opinion of honestly and that’s it,” Meshbesher said.
During the morning court recess, Lange’s dad expressed his anger over the prosecutions cross examination of his son.
“You don’t treat my son like that, when he’s a straight A student. I’m not going to put up with it,” said John Lange.
The jury will get the trial without Smith ever taking the stand. Meshbesher said his client was willing to testify but Meshbesher advised him against it. He said in a way, Smith already did testify when certain evidence was presented.
“He, in fact, did testify the transcripts, the interviews, it was unnecessary. It would be cumulative and had no relative value,” Meshbesher said.
And for the victims’ families, a year and half after Halie and Nick lost their lives, they are waiting for closure.
“I’m very confident in the system, very confident in the case that was presented,” said Steve Schaeffel, who is Nick Brady’s grandfather.
Smith is facing first- and second-degree murder charges for both teens. The jury could decide to convict on the lesser charge.
The judge said Monday that the jury will be sequestered.