When Bryon Smith heard Haile Kifer and her male cousin breaking into his home on Thanksgiving Day two years ago, the 65-year-old man did not know that she had so much marijuana and another drug in her system that she was high enough to hallucinate. But according to this April 28 report from Yahoo News, a prosecutor in the case believes the drugs found in the teen's system should help him convict Smith for killing the two teen home invaders, since it shows Kifer may have been too intoxicated to be a real threat to the older homeowner.
According to Minnesota law; however, Smith did not have a duty to retreat from his home invasion intruders when they broke into his house. And since his home had already been broken into before that, and a gun had been stolen at that time, the older man had every reason to fear for his life and shoot the possible assailants his defense attorney stated.
CNN pointed out in April back then that when it comes to self-defense laws in the nation, nearly all states allow some use of deadly force when it comes to protecting themselves and their homes. And if the crime had occurred in the state of Georgia instead of Minnesota, Bryon Smith would also have had no duty to retreat from his home invasion suspects in order to protect himself or others in the home. The rationale is that if he reasonably believed that such force was necessary in order to prevent the criminals from killing him or his loved ones in the home, then he was within his legal rights to shoot them dead.
Georgia isn't the only "no duty to retreat" state, as all other states in the country adhere to the same legal standing with a few caveats. In Hawaii there is no duty to retreat in your home or place of work, but if you are elsewhere, you must retreat if you can do so safely. If not, you are within your rights to shoot and kill the person seeking to physically harm you.
Some states expand on the "no duty to retreat" law, giving their state's citizens more information about their rights when it comes to being in a motor vehicle (Mississippi), sleeping in a tent (Missouri), living in a mobile home or RV (North Dakota). And each states that the legal right to protect ones self from expected serious harm is given as long as you are in the location yourself lawfully, and that your fear is reasonable for the situation you face.
Bryon Smith tested negative for drugs and alcohol following his shooting of the two teen cousins who invaded his home on Thanksgiving Day two years ago. And at issue, for the most part in his current trial for the shootings, is the prosecutor's belief that the older man not only lay in wait for the young criminals to break into his home a second time, so he could do more than just wound them once with his gun, but that he said his last shot was "a good, clean finishing shot." His defense attorney paints a different picture, stating that his client feared for his life when he put three bullets into the 17-year-old Nicholas Brady, and that the two suspects, not his client, are the criminals in this case.
The Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.