Drugs Found in Teen's System in Minnesota Home Invasion Trial, But Will It Matter?

PHOTO: Byron Smith, center, comes out of a Morrison County courtroom in Little Falls, Minn.
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One of the two teenage cousins killed in a home invasion in Minnesota had drugs in her system that could have caused hallucinations, according to the medical examiner, but a criminal defense attorney says it may not make a difference in the trial.

Dr. Kelly Mills, with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, testified Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of Bryon Smith that Haile Kifer had marijuana and an ingredient found in cough medicine in her system when police say she and her cousin, Nick Brady, broke into Smith's home in Little Falls, Minn., on Thanksgiving Day in 2012.

The levels of the cough medicine ingredient were high enough to make Kifer, 18, intoxicated and possibly hallucinate.

"The prosecution is going to argue that she was intoxicated, she couldn't possibly be a threat," said federal criminal defense attorney Kimberly Priest Johnson. "The defense could use the evidence ... to its advantage by saying she was acting out of her mind ... I really don't think that at the end of the day [it] affects the case one way or the other."

The medical examiner also testified that Brady, 17, had been shot three times. Investigators say Smith, 65, described the last time he fired as "a good, clean finishing shot." He tested negative for alcohol and drugs.

On Friday, Smith's neighbor, William Anderson, testified about the phone call he received from Smith more than 24 hours after the shooting.

"He just asked me if I could find a local attorney for him," he said. "I did not know what happened there -- I did not know."

Attorneys for Smith argued that he believed he was in mortal danger the night of the shooting, and that he feared thieves had stolen a gun during an earlier break-in and had returned.

"He was afraid that if somebody came in and broke into his house who had that gun, they would shoot him with his own gun," said his attorney, Steve Meshbesher.

Prosecutors say Smith sat in his basement with guns, waiting for the teens to enter his house, then went too far when he continued to shoot them after they were no longer a threat.

Under Minnesota law, a person may use deadly force to prevent a felony from taking place in one's home or dwelling.

The Associated Press contributed to this article

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