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Judge asked to bar release of data in Little Falls teens' deaths

  • Article by: AMY FORLITI
  • Associated Press
  • February 11, 2013 - 7:02 PM

MINNEAPOLIS - Prosecutors in the case of a Little Falls man charged with killing two teenagers who broke into his home are asking a judge to bar the defense from publicly releasing evidence, according to court documents filed Monday.

Byron Smith, 64, is accused of killing 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer on Thanksgiving Day. Prosecutors say he shot the teens multiple times — even as they lay dying — and left their bodies in his house for a day before authorities were notified.

Prosecutors said they have given Smith's defense attorneys more than 500 pages of law enforcement reports, transcripts, photographs, audio recordings and other evidence.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who is prosecuting the case for Morrison County, asked a judge to order that all of that be kept private before trial.

"The nature of the case has resulted in extensive media interest and the state is concerned that an inadvertent public disclosure of nonpublic information or parts of information from the discovery may impede the efficient and orderly disposition of this case," Orput wrote.

Orput wants a protective order that explicitly states materials provided to the defense by prosecutors would be kept only for the purpose of preparing a defense. Orput wrote that if defense attorneys want to provide materials to others, they should be required to get the court's consent.

Prosecutors also filed documents Monday objecting to a defense request for the victims' school, cellphone, medical and mental health records, arguing that some of the data is confidential and outside the scope of what the state is required to produce by law.

Final autopsy reports, including toxicology results, have been completed and turned over to the defense, according to a court document.

Assistant Morrison County Attorney Todd Kosovich said those toxicology results are not being publicly released by prosecutors, and he believes they are protected under data practices laws.

Brady and Kifer have been linked to a different burglary the day before they were killed. In that case, six bottles of prescription drugs were stolen from a homeowner, and the drugs were found in a car linked to the teens.

Smith faces two counts of second-degree murder. His attorney, Steven Meshbesher, has said Smith plans to defend himself against the charges.

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