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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » When Does “Self-Defense” Become “Overkill”?

When Does “Self-Defense” Become “Overkill”?

SELF-DEFENSE-CLAIMSThe deaths of two teenagers in a small town in Minnesota raises questions of how far a person may go in defense of themselves and their homes.
April 29, 2014

Byron Smith, a 65-year-old veteran, is accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer in his home on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

The defense argues that Smith did not know that Brady and Kifer were unarmed, and that, in fear for his own safety, shot the two in self-defense.  The prosecution stands by the argument that Smith planned the killings, and lay in wait, armed, and furnished with food. The results have left Smith facing two counts of first-degree premeditated murder, as well as two counts of second-degree intentional murder.

The Criminal Laws in Tennessee support the same argument.

Smith’s defense argument is further empowered by his testament that he had suffered prior break-ins, as well as the defense’s stance that he was an upstanding member of his community. However, whether or not the killings were pre-meditated, the prosecution is strongly focusing on the fact that he shot both teenagers multiple times, even after the threat had possibly been disabled.  The defense disagrees, stating that, without the killing blows, they could have still posed a dangerous threat if they happened to find a weapon.

Further investigation has shown that Kifer had enough of an ingredient found in cough syrup, dextromethorphan, in her system that she would be considered intoxicated, and that it could “cause hallucinations, disassociation and an out-of-body experience.”

Other reports also show that Smith had placed recording devices in his own home, which captured audio of him mumbling to himself, labeling the teens as “vermin.”

Under current Minnesota law, a person is allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves from death or great bodily-harm, and to also defend their home from any felony.  The jury awaits the closing remarks, which should be made today.

Tennessee is one of 20 State that has a Stand your Ground Law.  The Tenneessee Self Defense Law says Tennessee Residents can Use Deadly Force  anywhere, Inside or Out, if they have a a reasonable belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

IF you have been accused of a Crime of Self Defense you need an attorney on your side.  These cased can have serious repercussion and you need the Legal Experience of a trial tested Criminal Attorney.

Call Turner Law Offices at (615) 259-2660


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