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Sarah Nelson Katzenberger, Forum News Service, Published April 24 2014

At Smith trial, teens’ relatives shield eyes during testimony on gunshot wounds

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. - Family members of Nick Brady and Haile Kifer covered their faces and wiped away tears as Ramsey County Medical Examiner Kelly Mills testified in a Morrison County courtroom Thursday.

Mills conducted autopsies on Brady and Kifer after their shooting deaths in the basement of rural Little Falls resident Byron Smith, whose home they entered without permission on Thanksgiving Day 2012.

Smith is being tried on first-degree murder charges in the teens’ deaths.

Mills testified to the gunshot wounds suffered by the teens, and her testimony was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation of photos of their injuries.

Mills said the first gunshot entered through the back of Brady’s right hand, exited his right palm and re-entered Brady in the right temple. Mills said the shot - taken from between 6 inches and 3 feet away - would have been immediately fatal.

Brady also suffered two other gunshot wounds, both of which “would have been fatal had Mr. Brady lived long enough,” she said.

Mills described five wounds suffered by Kifer, calling the second shot, which wounded Kifer behind the left ear, consistent with close firing range.

“This is a fatal shot,” Mills testified.

Mills said toxicology tests were conducted on both Brady and Kifer. Brady tested negative for drugs and alcohol. Kifer tested negative for alcohol, but Mills said urine samples from Kifer tested positive for a cough suppressant substance called Dextromethorphan and a marijuana metabolite. Mills said the metabolite did not contain hallucinogenic material.