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Byron Smith Case: Slain Minn. teens had stolen items in car, police say

Haile Kifer (.l) and Nick Brady (.r)
Personal photo

(CBS/AP) MINNEAPOLIS - Authorities say a car linked to two Minnesota teens fatally shot during an alleged home burglary on Thanksgiving day contained prescription drugs that had been stolen from another house.

PICTURES: Two Minn. cousins fatally shot on Thanksgiving Day

Nicholas Brady, 17, and his cousin Haile Kifer, 18, were killed in the Little Falls home of Byron Smith, who has since been charged with murder. Morrison County Sheriff Michael Wetzel said Smith told authorities he shot the teens multiple times after they broke into his house.

Wetzel said Wednesday that on the night before the shootings, a homeowner just outside Little Falls reported a suspicious car was parked near the end of his driveway.

Deputies responded and spoke with Brady, who told them he and Kifer had been in the car when it ran out of gas, Wetzel said. Brady told deputies that Kifer went to get more fuel, and the deputies then gave Brady a ride into Little Falls, leaving the car behind.

"Johnson reported numerous items were missing from the home including several bottles of prescription medication," Wetzel said in a statement.

Authorities seized a red Mitsubishi Eclipse after the shootings and searched it. They found six prescription drug bottles bearing Johnson's name, Wetzel said. Authorities did not say who owns the vehicle.

Smith, a retired U.S. State Department employee, was charged Monday with two counts of murder. According to the criminal complaint, Smith shot the teens multiple times. He told investigators his home had been broken into several times before.

Minnesota law gives homeowners the right to protect themselves and their property, but Wetzel said they don't have the right to execute an intruder once the threat is neutralized.

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  • Crimesider Staff

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