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Defense of home doesn’t include execution

April 30, 2014

A jury in Morrison County found Byron Smith guilty of first degree murder on Thursday, in a quick verdict that sends a clear message: In Minnesota, defense of one’s home and property does not give......

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May-03-14 11:16 AM

Clearly, two wrongs didn't make a right in this situation. They all paid the price for their decisions. Justice was served.

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May-02-14 7:18 PM

what i don't understand, it sounds like he was all set up waiting...for how many days? how did he know they were going to break in that night? this was definitely premeditated to kill..not to just wound them to incapacitate them until the law arrived.

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May-02-14 11:22 AM

I don't believe anyone has disputed the fact that Mr. Smith had the right to defend his home. And as Petercakes stated, the young pair were, indeed, criminals and had control of their own destiny.

The same could be said for Mr. Smith. He, too, was in control of his own destiny when he turned his defense into an execution. deerhunt stated, "Play with fire, and you may get burned." Both Mr. Smith and the young pair did just that. The end result did not have to be what it was. I'm with MCW 100% on his views.

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May-02-14 7:12 AM

I am glad I was not on this jury. I don't know how I would have voted. I did not get to listen to the recording. But I do think he went to far when he "finished them off". I do think we have the right to defend our homes, and that means with a gun and with a fatal blow if necessary. Was this necessary? I don't think so, but I was not there. I think Mr. Smith may have been fed up with the breakins and went off the deep end. IMHO

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May-01-14 4:03 PM

In no way am I defending his actions , he was totally wrong in how he handled the situation, guessing he might have a mental illness . But on the flip side of things , I hope anybody thinking of committing felonies such as breaking and entering realize they are escalating a bad situation with their actions. You may do it as a dare ,joke or for monetary reasons, but your actions raise the bar as to what someone may do in response to your actions. There are people out there that are a little unhinged and something like this can set them off. Committing a felony has danger involved that may result in your death or injury , even though the defender may have not had the constitutional or moral right to take the situation as far as this guy did. Play with fire and you may get burned .

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May-01-14 1:35 PM

Yep, I was broken into a few times, in my day, it was for some alcohol. Waited and caught the guys who were teens. Didn't shoot them just said time for a little talk. I am not the worlds bravest person, but sure would not kill a couple of kids that I could see on camera. The taking of a human life over a break in is really not the punishment fits the crime scenario. I think yelling at them "go home" just might have worked.

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May-01-14 6:38 AM

I really haven't heard of anyone defending the two people that broke in, but I still think he went too far. By all means, he had every right to shoot them. Is it his right to execute the girl after she was down and gasping for air? I don't think so, and neither did the jury. He clearly had a plan, so I do believe it was premeditated.

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May-01-14 3:09 AM

Shortly after World War II, one of my uncles living in California was subjected to repeated break-ins and property thefts from his garage. When police appeared unable to help him, they asked if he still had possession of his service rifle from the war. He said yes, and the police told him to "take care of" it himself. That's exactly what he did, shooting and killing the burglar, and no one raised an eyebrow. I wonder why there was a lot less crime back then.

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Apr-30-14 7:25 AM

Next time someone breaks into your house again while your alone, see what comes to your mind. I bet your thought is not that these intruders are just young, defenseless mis-guided kids? If can scream "go home" as If directing a stray dog to leave the yard. This man did not exercise reasonable judgement by choosing execution following home defense. However, these people were criminals and subjected their lives to this to this risky behavior. They were totally in control of their own destiny.

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Apr-30-14 6:24 AM

This case was tried in Morrison County, not Stearns County.

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