The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 28, 2012

Little Falls shooting stirs strong emotions on both sides



The complaint said Smith told an investigator: "I want him dead."

Smith said he dragged Brady's body into his workshop. When Kifer came down the stairs, he shot her multiple times as well, and dragged her into the room with Brady. She was still gasping for air, so he fired what he called a "good clean finishing shot" under her chin "up into the cranium," the complaint said.

And then police weren't called until the next day.

John Lange defended Smith, whom he called his best friend, saying that even after reading the details of the complaint, he didn't feel Smith should be in jail.

"You have a right to defend your home," Lange said. "He's been through hell."

Little Falls resident Liberty Nunn, who said she knew Nicholas Brady's older sister, said Smith could have simply shouted at them to stop. She said she hopes Smith goes to prison "for a very, very long time."

"Those are two young lives that were taken," she said. "It's just not right."

Some went to social media to express opinions, including Facebook pages set up to support the victims' family that also attracted comments slandering the victims. The creators of the pages did not return messages seeking comment.

Family members of the victims also did not return messages.

Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf's office said he would have no comment Tuesday. On Monday, he acknowledged the case could create controversy.

"I would ask that people not rush to judgment," he said. "Let the investigation continue. Let all the facts come out in court."

State Rep. Tony Cornish, a former police officer who sponsored a bill last year that would have expanded circumstances in which people could use deadly force, said he believes Smith would have had a legitimate defense if he would've stopped firing after his first shot.

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