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But Smith’s actions, they said, amounted to setting up an assassination. He moved his car away that day. He sat in his basement, not calling police or yelling out warnings to intruders after hearing the glass in his upstairs bedroom window break. He uttered “you’re dead” and “bitch” while shooting the teens as they descended his basement stairs about 10 minutes apart. He dragged their bodies to a basement workshop and left them there for a day before calling a neighbor, who notified police.
The trial was the first time the Schaeffels heard Smith’s own chilling surveillance audio of the teens being shot — how the teens cried out in pain, how Smith later called them “vermin.”
That was “the absolute most difficult day for me,” Steve Schaeffel said. “It absolutely devastated me to know that their final moments were in such agony and fear and brutality.”
When the audio recording became publicly available through the state courts website late Tuesday, Steve Schaeffel told doubters to listen to it, he said, telling them: “There is your proof.”
On Wednesday, the Schaeffels continued to process everything the best way they know how, keeping busy with chores around the farm while feeding, brushing and training the dogs they breed and show.
“It’s the details of life that kind of carry you on,” Bonnie Schaeffel said.
But, Steve Schaeffel added: “the hole in our hearts will never go away.”
Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102