The Lead-up

List of events leading up to the incident.

  1. In early June 2012, Nick Brady and Cody Kasper drove Brady’s red car up to Smith garage looking for work. Their friend, Colt Litzau, said they also made “other visits” but didn’t find Smith in the house.

  2. Starting in June of 2012, Smith was hearing his door bell ring between midnight and 2:00 a.m. about once a week. No one was there.

  3. During the first week of July $3,200 in cash was stolen. Byron thought he may have misplaced, but doubted that. Because of that and impossibility of recovery, the law was not notified at that time.

  4. August – September 2012: Suffering from a rash of “misplaced/missing” items. Later considered to be stolen. Went to annual Scout weekend where friends noticed him nervous and withdrawn, but said nothing.

  5. In September Smith’s doorbell would ring in the middle of the night about 2x/week, but no one was ever there.

  6. Mid-September – regional Scout meeting, first one missed in four years. He couldn’t leave home for fear of burglars.

  7. Approximately around September 10, noticed two missing guns. The paranoia began, afraid to leave house, afraid to leave tools on work bench. Began compulsive use of dead bolts, locking vehicles in own garage, hiding valuables in own home. Went to WalMart to purchase replacement rifle and Iron Hills Pawn to replace shot gun.

  8. In early October, he reversed the doorbell tone to verify that it wasn’t a dream. The doorbell rang again several times in reverse, which verified he was not dreaming and hearing things, but no one could ever be seen.

  9. Weekend of October 14th – out-of-town, burglary occurred with theft of misc. items and copper wire and a $1,200 Stihl chainsaw. Cody Kasper admitted in Court there was “too much to carry”, so they hid some things in the pine trees and came back later. The rash of “misplaced” items had become an epidemic and desperate frustration set in. By compulsively locking everything, Smith felt somewhat safe. That changed on October 27, 2012 with a violent break-in. A dead-bolted door to the basement was kicked in to gain entry. $32,000 worth of pure gold coins, $6,000 special-order Nikon camera, jewelry, war medals and dad’s Rolex taken.

  10. On Monday, October 29, 2012, Smith spent 1 ½ hours in the “ready room” at the sheriff’s office, waiting for Jamie Luberts who was the assigned investigator. Smith brought a door panel in as additional evidence. While waiting Smith discussed at length the break-ins, being afraid and hopeless with the receptionist and deputy. The deputy said “If they really want to get you, they will always find some way in.” After almost two hours, it appeared Luberts was not coming in, so Smith left.

    “If they really want to get you, they will always find some way in.”

    Sheriff’s Deputy

  11. Smith suspected the attack was by teens due to the shoe pattern on the door panel (skateboard style) and also heard about the recent vandalism of auto glass in Swanville, an estimated $150,000 in damages. Smith began to worry about his vehicles.

  12. The Monday before Thanksgiving, Smith cleaned out a space in the 3-car garage to store his 1969 Nova. Working on only four hours of sleep each night and carrying a pistol for protection.

  13. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Smith cleaned out another stall to store his SUV.

  14. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Smith asked his neighbor, Bill, to assist him in pushing two motorcycles into the same garage. (Motorcycles were being rebuilt, so not running.)

  15. On Thanksgiving Smith planned to continue cleaning and sort and put away an entire summer's worth of unfinished projects in the 2-car garage. Since he needed room to work, the pick-up had to be moved outside. But feeling a serious threat of vandalism, plus a four-day weekend for teens, he felt a serious risk to leave anything outside. Smith moved his truck a block and a half in front of a highway patrol’s home where it would be as safe as it could get, expecting to leave it there for the weekend while he worked in the garage.

Other Significant Notes

  1. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Smith told Bill to get the 20 lb. turkey he had thawing in a large pail of ice water and give it to the Lange’s. Bill found the large pail with pinkish water right where Byron said it was, but no turkey was there. Law enforcement had the only access to the property on Friday and Saturday.

  2. Colt Litzau told a private investigator that he saw Casper and Brady at Crossroads Mall with fistfuls of hundred dollar bills in early November 2012. This is soon after over $40,000 of property was stolen from Byron’s home. They had bought expensive coats and snowboarding gear.

  3. Other neighbors to Smith, reported hearing their doorbell ring in the middle of the night, too.

  4. The audio tape sequence as presented at trial, we believe to have been altered to fit the prosecution's theories. Compare the video recording with embedded time data to the audio recording that has no time data at all. All time data was generated by the prosecution AFTER they modified the audio.

  5. The jury’s decision is telling us to believe that a retired man would “lure” violent attackers who had stolen his guns back to his home so he could shoot them. Even though all the doors and windows to his home were locked and dead-bolted since he had experienced the violent attack and burglary of October 27.

  6. The shoe worn by Nick Brady on Thanksgiving was the same shoe pattern from the kicked-in door panel from October 27th burglary.

  7. How would the burglars know that Smith was not home on Thanksgiving, unless someone was watching that day? How would they know his car wasn’t in a garage? Smith’s neighbor’s daughter, Ashley Williams was seen unusually driving up and down Elm Street several times on Thanksgiving morning. According to Byron’s neighbor, in 3 out of 4 times that Smith had left his home and was burglarized, she had been visiting her parents on Elm Street.

  8. The jury list contained many candidates that were Facebook friends of either the Brady/Kifer families and law enforcement personnel. Also included in the jury pool was the funeral director for Brady and Kifer. Most of the potential jurors were not within the city of Little Falls. More than two-thirds of the potential jury candidates live within the city, so how is it possible that none were selected? The final selection of jurors all lived outside the city of Little Falls. In fact, there are at least two jurors that do not even reside in Morrison County.

  9. Byron Smith is still wondering why a deputy repeatedly asked him if he had seen “something on the boy’s waist”. Immediately after law enforcement arrived to the Smith home on that Friday (after Thanksgiving), that deputy also repeatedly asked Smith if he had noticed “anything in the girl’s boot.” The deputy then left the room where Byron was being questioned and was speaking to another in a hushed voice so Byron could not hear what he was speaking about.

    Were they really unarmed? School friends have reported that Nick Brady owned a bullet proof vest and wore it to school to brag about it. His classmates also talked about his collection of guns in his bedroom. His mother refused to let the sheriff’s department inspect his bedroom after the shooting. The deputies did not secure the bedroom. Later that evening, the house was visited by at least one person removing items from the house.

  10. There has been suspicious activity at a home on Elm Street for years. When neighbors suspected drug activity due to the numerous cars going in and out for short periods of time, law enforcement personnel were notified. Twice when neighbors notified law enforcement with specific information, such as license numbers on suspect cars, the traffic stopped.