Prosecutors are asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to require Byron Smith pay for the headstones of the two cousin intruders he murdered in his Little Falls, Minn. home on Thanksgiving Day in 2012.
The families of 18-year-old Haile Kifer and 17-year-old Nick Brady want to add the cost of headstones to the more than $21,000 Smith was ordered in November to pay them. The families want about $10,000 for Kiefer’s headstone and about $9,400 for Brady’s, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
Smith is also appealing the restitution. He claims Brady broke into Smith’s house multiple times before the night of his murder and stole valuable items.
“You can’t be in the business of burglarizing and … make money off it,” said Smith’s attorney Steve Meshbesher. “You cannot do that and have family go and ask for money in funeral expenses.”
Smith is serving a life sentence for the murder of the two teenagers. He argued in an affidavit that he had lost $53,000 in burglaries involving Brady.
But the victims’ families can’t afford the headstones to begin with, said Washington County attorney Pete Orput. He added that evidence linking Brady with previous burglaries is circumstantial.
A judge originally excluded the headstones from Smith’s restitution because the families hadn’t bought them yet, according to court documents. But the prosecution argues that costs don’t have to be incurred for restitution to be paid, according to the documents.
-- Anne Millerbernd is a University of Minnesota on assignment for the Star Tribune.