A Little Falls teenager who was killed after he broke into a home on Thanksgiving Day had burglarized the same property twice in the months before he was shot, according to court documents.
Nick Brady, 17, and his cousin, Haile Kifer, 18, were killed last November as they broke into Byron Smith's home. Smith, 64, is charged in their deaths. He's accused of shooting the teens multiple times — continuing to shoot them as they lay dying — and leaving their bodies in his house for a day before authorities were notified.
Court documents filed this week show Brady had previously broken into Smith's house and into his garage, stealing cash, a video recorder and a chain saw. The details were revealed in juvenile petitions filed against Brady's 17-year-old friend, who is charged with aiding and abetting the burglaries.
Smith's attorney, Steve Meshbesher, tells the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/X1gYg8 ) that Brady and his 17-year-old friend had worked for Smith at his property, and the burglary charges show Smith had been repeatedly victimized and was scared.
He said Smith reported "a half dozen" burglaries over several months and installed a security system "because he couldn't protect his home."
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who is prosecuting Smith's case for Morrison County, said Smith is using the prior burglaries as an excuse for murder.
According to the petitions, after Brady and Kifer were killed, investigators searched the home of the 17-year-old boy, believing that some of Smith's items might be there. The teen told authorities about the two break-ins, one that summer and one that fall. The teen said he acted as a lookout for Brady, and the two kept a cellphone line open during the burglaries so Brady could be warned if someone was coming, the documents said.
One document said that after the summer burglary, Brady bought his friend an all-terrain vehicle, clothes and shoes for his help.
Brady and Kifer also have been linked to another burglary that happened the day before they were killed. In that case, six bottles of prescription drugs were stolen from another homeowner. The drugs were found in a car linked to the cousins.