First-degree murder charges will stand against a Little Falls, Minn., man accused of killing two intruders last year.
Morrison County Judge Douglas Anderson denied a defense motion to dismiss charges against 65-year-old Byron Smith. Authorities say on Thanksgiving Day last year Smith shot and wounded, then later killed, 17-year-old Nicholas Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer after the teens broke into his home.
Prosecutors initially charged Smith with second-degree murder. But a grand jury indicted him on the more serious charges in April.
In a 22-page memo, Anderson said grand jurors followed the proper procedures in determining probable cause for first degree murder.
Defense attorneys have said Smith had been burglarized before and was acting in self defense.
Smith's attorney tried to get the charges dropped. But Morrison County Judge Douglas Anderson ruled prosecutors and grand jurors followed the law in finding probable cause.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who is prosecuting the case, said the evidence will show that Smith went far beyond self defense.
"When you look at the elements of self defense or even defense of dwelling, any use of force to stop a crime from being committed has to be reasonable and necessary," Orput said.