Above is the chilling audio from the evening of Thanksgiving 2012 when Byron David Smith shot and killed 2 intruders at his Minnesota home.  Smith, 65, lived alone, and had experienced an increasing problem with break-ins in the months leading up to the murders.  Along with large amounts of cash, Smith also had a number of personal belongings stolen, including his father’s watch that he had received after his time as a POW, Smith’s own military medals and ribbons, clothing and a couple of firearms.  As a result, Smith started wearing a loaded gun in a holster around his home, and also installed a security system, which recorded the deadly event on Thanksgiving night.

After moving his truck to make it appear that the house was deserted, Smith sat in an armchair located in his basement, and began to practice the speech explaining his actions that he would later give to authorities.  After smashing the basement window, 17-year-old Nicholas Brady entered the house and began to descend the steps in the basement.  Smith shot at Brady twice before firing fatal shot into his face.  After moving the teen’s body onto a tarpaulin, Smith returned to his armchair. 18-year-old Haile Kifer, Brady’s cousin, followed through the window just minutes later.  Smith shot her multiple times in the chest, before administering a final ‘finishing shot’, as he would later refer to it, into Kifer’s head.  Smith waited until the next day before alerting the police of the murders, not wanting to bother the authorities on Thanksgiving.  He was found guilty of 2 counts of first-degree murder, and is currently serving life in prison.

A Controversial Case of “Self Defense”

On Thanksgiving Day 2012, a retired man called Byron Smith shot and killed two intruders in his home in Little Falls, Minnesota. Under the Castle Doctrine of the state, which allows a person to use lethal force to defend his property, he was in the right. That is, until an investigation revealed a more complex scenario.

Smith had worked for the US State Department as a security specialist and had been living in different countries around the world. At 64, he decided to retire and spend the rest of his life in the quiet Little Falls. However, he soon became the victim of a series of breaking ins. The perpetrators stole not only money, but guns and a prized watch his father had got after being a prisoner in WWII. Smith went to the police at least once, but they told him to strengthen the security in his house and not much else.

According to friends and neighbors of Smith, the robberies made him paranoid to the point he wouldn’t sleep for days. That Thanksgiving day, Smith decided to do something about it. He moved his truck away from the house to make it seem like there was no one home, and sat in his basement for hours armed with a gun to wait.

At some point, two teenagers broke in his house. It was Nicholas Brady (17) and his cousin Haile Kifer (18), who according to a later investigation had worked for Smith before and had been responsible for at least some of the burglaries. Both had some drug related trouble. 

As soon as Brady started coming down to the basement, Smith shot him twice and then once more in the face, killing him. Around 12 minutes later, Haile went down looking for her cousin and she got the same fate, except she was shot six times.

Smith wrapped both bodies and then waited until next day to alert a neighbor to call the police. His reason for not doing it sooner, he said, was because he didn’t want to bother authorities during Thanksgiving.

The whole episode was recorded in audio by Smith, and there he can be heard rehearsing a call to his lawyer before the killings and also the cold, angry words directed at the burglars. The audio was made available here, and a warning; it’s very disturbing.

All this made authorities consider the deaths of Brady and Kifer premeditated, so Smith was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The case is still very controversial, with part of the community supporting Smith and saying that the actions of the teenagers and the little help from the police drove him to such an extreme reaction.


Disturbing audio of 65-year-old Byron David Smith shooting dead two intruders, 18-year-old Haile Kifer and her 17-year-old cousin Nicholas Brady, on 22 November, 2012, in Little Falls Minnesota, after multiple break ins at his home. At 1:03, you can hear the teenagers breaking into his home by smashing his bedroom window. At 3:21, Smith shoots Brady as soon as he begins walking down the basement stairs. He falls down the stairs where Smith shoots him again in the face to make sure he is dead. At 13:43, Kifer enters the basement where she is shot. She then falls down the stairs and Smith’s rifle jams. He then shoots her multiple times in the chest and drags her body over to beside her cousins and kills her by shooting her under her chin. At 15:21, Smith can be heard speaking to the tape recorder about what he has just done, referring to the teenagers as “vermin” and “social mistakes.” He leaves the bodies in the basement until the next day when he calls the police as he didn’t want to bother them on Thanksgiving. Since Smith had set up a tape recorder and sat patiently in the basement waiting for the teenagers to enter, this shows premeditation on his part and due to this recording, he was sentenced to life in prison.