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Pete Orput to Prosecute Little Falls Thanksgiving Day Homicide Case

Byron Smith is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Haile Kifer and Nicholas Brady, two cousins who were repeatedly shot after they broke into Smith’s home in Little Falls on Thanksgiving Day.

The Washington County Attorney's Office will prosecute the Little Falls homicide case of a 64-year-old man who is accused of shooting two teens who broke into his home on Thanksgiving.

Orput told the Pioneer Press the Minnesota County Attorneys Association called him on behalf of the Morrison County attorney's office to ask if he’d try the case.

The case, the president of the county attorneys association told Orput, is that the case would be contentious because of the gun issue.

"If that's a challenge,” Orput told the Pioneer Press, “I want it.”

Morrison County will pay per diem for mileage, meals and rooms if necessary, Orput told Stillwater Patch on Wednesday.

“The attorney time is not billed, but county attorneys routinely take conflict cases for each other and when my office gets a conflict we can send it to Morrison County to handle to make up for the time I spend on their case,” he said.

Byron Smith is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nicholas Brady, 17, two cousins who were repeatedly shot after they broke into Smith’s home.

Smith has posted bail. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Orput told the Pioneer Press he has "reviewed and prosecuted cases that involve the concept of defense of dwelling" and thinks this is a good case to present to a jury.

Last year the Washington County Attorney’s Office worked on about 25 cases for other counties Orput said.

Randy Marsh January 04, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Those kids got what they deserved. I wonder if Shawn will look into what if any contingencies are put in place to ensure the Washington County taxpayers are getting their money's worth on this. First, when will Washington County require a case(s) that that Morrison County can make good on that will take anywhere near the amount of time Orput will spend on this case? Let's keep in mind it took Orput and his office more than a year to bring charges against Eckberg for writing some bad checks so I'm guessing he has plenty of work to do already. Second, I know he just received a nice fat raise from our overpaid county commissioners and the taxpayers are also taking it in the shorts because you can rest assured that Morrison County is not paying its attorney as much as we're paying Orput so we are also getting hosed on the hourly trade-off, if it ever does occur. This does not pass the smell test and I am not comfortable with Orput taking advantage of this situation for his own personal gain (plenty of notoriety from this case) while not serving the best interests of those paying his bloated salary.
Susan January 04, 2013 at 12:14 PM
"According to reports, the teenagers broke a main level window to Smith’s house while Smith was in the basement, causing Smith to arm himself. Brady was the first to go to the basement. Smith told investigators he watched as the first person walked down the stairs and that he waited until he saw that person’s hips before he shot. A criminal complaint charging Smith indicated he shot Brady twice, the second shot coming after Brady was lying on the basement floor. Smith is accused of shooting Kifer several times after the first shot caused her to fall down the basement stairs. He acknowledged to investigators he fired more shots than needed at Kifer and said he shot Brady a second time because he wanted Brady dead." And, if I remember correctly, he didn't even call police until the next day...just left the bodies in his basement for 24 hours. Got what they deserved? I'll wait for the verdict, I guess, as it seems this was excessive. No, I don't want anyone breaking into my house, but if they do, I don't think that gives me the right to do whatever I want to them. Could he have assaulted her before killing her? Would that also have been deserved? How about torture? Yes, these kids should have been prosecuted, and maybe they deserved to get shot, but this was more than a self defense shooting.
Randy Marsh January 04, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Don't get me wrong, this guy will spend the rest of his life in jail as the law says he should, but I feel worse for the Smith than those kids (their families are another story). In keeping with the theme of the majority of that previous post, it is a shame that our tax dollars will be used to prosecute and incarcerate a man who would not be going to jail if not for some punk kids breaking into his house repeatedly. Worse yet is that Washington County taxpayers are footing the bill for Orput to advance his career while not benefiting us in the least.
Susan January 04, 2013 at 04:35 PM
I understand your point, Randy, but he also (probably) wouldn't be charged if he had called 911 after he shot them the first time. There's something fishy going on with this guy and what happened on Thanksgiving Day. I don't believe for one minute that he needed to keep shooting for "self defense", and why the delay in calling the police? Yes, those of us in Washington County are footing another bill for something else that barely (if at all) benefits us...this shouldn't be a surprise.

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