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Judge denies mistrial in killing of 2 Minn. teens

April 23, 2014
Associated Press

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota judge on Wednesday denied another request for a mistrial in the case of a homeowner who shot and killed two teens who entered his home.

Attorneys for Byron Smith asked for a mistrial after about an hour of cross-examining a forensic scientist from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Smith, 65, of Little Falls, is charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the deaths of 18-year-old Haile Kifer and 17-year-old Nick Brady on Thanksgiving Day 2012. The shooting stunned the central Minnesota city of about 8,000 people and stirred debate about how far people can go to defend their homes. The defense says Smith feared for his life after several previous break-ins, but prosecutors say he planned the killings and was lying in wait in his basement.

Defense attorney Adam Johnson said the defense had not seen the scientist's notes on forensic evidence, including how far away Smith was from Kifer when he fired.

Prosecutors said Smith's attorneys had plenty of time to examine the bureau's evidence.

Morrison County District Judge Douglas Anderson denied the mistrial request, but took a break to give defense attorneys time to go over forensic scientist Nathaniel Pearlson's notes.

Anderson also rejected a mistrial request Tuesday from defense attorney Steven Meshbesher, who argued that pretrial rulings about what jurors can't hear about the teens had severely restricted his case.



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