The murders of Nick Brady and his cousin Haile Kifer inside the house they intended to rob shocked the people of Little Falls, Minnesota, on November 22, 2012. Despite the fact that Minnesota permits property owners to defend their homes with fatal force, the tragic killings sparked a heated discussion about the contentious statute. The documentary “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered: Trouble at the 7-11 Ranch” tells the story of the horrific killings and the investigation that led to the conviction of the killer. Let’s investigate the crime’s specifics to learn more, shall we?
How Did Nick Brady and Haile Kifer Die?
Nicholas “Nick” Brady and Haile Kifer, cousins who reside in Little Falls, Minnesota, were 17 and 18 years old when the double homicide occurred. Despite having typical upbringings, the two were thought to be responsible for a number of break-ins in the neighbourhood. In reality, Nick’s sister accused him of stealing cocaine from her house on August 28, 2012. In another instance, the police believed that the burglary of a retired teacher’s home the day before his death was connected to him because of his car. However, neither of the two had ever faced persecution or a criminal record.
Nick and Haile had planned to break into a nearby house on November 22, 2012 since they knew the owner would be out visiting a neighbour at a specified time. So, just before the crime, the two youths watched the house from a distance before entering through a window on the second floor. Surprisingly, though, that was the last time anyone ever heard or saw Nick and Haile alive since, shortly after, they vanished without ever leaving the house. The youngsters’ families started searching the neighbourhood the next day after becoming worried about their continued disappearance.
Authorities were able to find the house the teenagers intended to rob on November 24 thanks to a tip. Officers entered and discovered Nick and Haile’s bodies there, piled on top of one another and covered in gunshot wounds. An autopsy later revealed that the two were wounded on the floor after being shot at close range with a.22 calibre. But the murderer continued, firing the deciding shot in an execution-style killing.
Who Killed Nick Brady and Haile Kifer?
When Nick and Haile vanished, their families and neighbourhood volunteers looked everywhere for the teenagers. However, since they were unaware of the entire situation, the police were never involved in the original search. Eventually, on November 24, officials got a terrifying call from Byron Smith, a 64-year-old homeowner, who claimed to have slain two trespassers who had broken into his house the previous day. He added that he did not want to trouble the police with such a “minor” matter because November 23 was Thanksgiving day.
Investigators rushed to Byron’s home after receiving the call to find Nick and Haile’s bodies lying on top of each other with blood pooled underneath. Additionally, a preliminary investigation found that the two had been shot many times, suggesting a cold-blooded murder. Furthermore, the invaders’ deaths were even more puzzling because the authorities were unable to uncover any weapons on them. However, when questioned, Byron said that he was afraid of being attacked and that he had shot the two to defend his property.
In addition, the homeowner went into extensive detail about killings and said that after Haile was hurt, she allegedly lay on the ground smiling and taunting him, which prompted him to kill her. Byron said that none of the murders were premeditated or planned, despite the fact that his property had been looted multiple times before to the double homicide. The incident was caught on the security cameras after the police extensively investigated the burglarized property during their investigation.
Furthermore, Byron even installed an audio system with a recording of the entire occurrence. With the use of these tools, law enforcement created a mental picture of the crime and discovered that the suspect had set up the recording equipment and prepared his home for the victims by turning out all the lights. In order to give Nick and Haile a false sense of security, he added to it by driving his car to the neighbor’s house. Byron was therefore in his basement, seated with his revolver, when the 17-year-old broke into the home. He had the opportunity to shoot Nick because his location was hidden from regular sight as he entered the basement.
When Byron shot Nick in the head, the cops realised he was hurt and not a threat because he was lying on the ground. The homeowner left the basement and spent a good ten to fifteen minutes upstairs before coming back. The audio tape showed that Haile was afraid after the injury and not laughing as Byron had previously claimed when he shot her when she approached the basement in search of her relative. These specifics demonstrated that the entire incident was planned, and the police detained the homeowner right away.
When Byron Smith was brought before the court, he entered a not guilty plea and said he was defending his property. However, it is against the law to shoot anyone without cause, especially if the invader poses no threat. In 2014, the homeowner was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on two counts of first-degree premeditated murder and two counts of second-degree murder. Byron has now sought to have his conviction reversed. He is still imprisoned at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, after having had all of his appeals rejected.
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