Self-Defense: How far is to far?

Discussion in 'The WrestleZone Symposium' started by Hyorinmaru, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Hyorinmaru

    Hyorinmaru Sit Upon The Frozen Heavens
    E-Fed Mod

    Dec 7, 2007
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    The Article

    The article for people who don't like clicking links (please read the article first)
    On November 22, 2012, a set of chilling self-defense murders occurred in Minnesota when Byron David Smith hid in his basement while two teenager broke into his home. He lured them downstairs and shot them both at point blank range while recording the entire thing. Headlines reading, “Man Murders Teens Trespassing In His Home,” had only covered a small portion of this dense story. The facts of the Byron David Smith murder case aren’t cut and dried. The full story shows a man who believes that he was being terrorized by the future of a slowly deteriorating country. In committing a double homicide, Smith believed that he was doing his town a favor.

    While there is no arguing that the teens breaking into someone's home were guilty of a crime, Smith’s actions led to a series of questions about what self-defense really means. But rather than applaud the 64-year-old retiree for cleaning up the streets of small town Minnesota, a jury swiftly voted to put him behind bars for the rest of his life

    On Thanksgiving Day in 2012, Byron David Smith set up a digital audio recorder in his basement while he sat in waiting while Haile Kifer (18) and Nicholas Brady (17) broke into his house. As they made their way downstairs, Smith shot them one by one, like a hunter in a deer blind. While Smith waited for the teens to arrive, he rehearsed what he would say when he spoke to the police, even going to so far as to pretend to ask for a lawyer. When the teens finally begin making their way to the basement where he was hiding, the recording becomes a gruesome listen.

    During and directly after the murders, Smith can be plainly heard giving a monologue about how he did his "civic duty" and saying that bad people come from bad families. The most chilling part of the recording comes after Smith has already shot Kifer multiple times. Before he can fire the death blow to her head, his gun jams. Smith apologizes, checks his gun and finally puts her out of her misery.

    Smith did not call the police after he committed the double homicide in the basement of his home; he decided to wait until the next day. He reasoned that the police would be enjoying Thanksgiving with their families and didn't want to disturb them. This kind of logic speaks to the heart of Smith's crime. He thought that he was doing the world a favor by murdering these two teens and felt that the police wouldn't want to deal with something so low. After Smith compared the two slain teens to "vermin" on his recording, it's obvious he thought everyone would agree with how he handled the situation.

    Rather than try to contact the police and have them handle the case, the retiree decided to take the law into his own hands. He ended up devising a plan that would lead him on a course towards his eventual incarceration. To ensure that Kifer and Brady would break into his home on Thanksgiving, Smith had to make sure that it looked like no one was home. To do this, he moved his truck out of the area and returned to lie in wait. After making sure the house seemed empty, he snuck down to the basement where he waited for the teens to enter. In a further show of pre-meditation, he sat with with a bottle of water, energy bars, a book to pass the time, and two guns.

    Rather than try to contact the police and have them handle the case, the retiree decided to take the law into his own hands. He ended up devising a plan that would lead him on a course towards his eventual incarceration. To ensure that Kifer and Brady would break into his home on Thanksgiving, Smith had to make sure that it looked like no one was home. To do this, he moved his truck out of the area and returned to lie in wait. After making sure the house seemed empty, he snuck down to the basement where he waited for the teens to enter. In a further show of pre-meditation, he sat with with a bottle of water, energy bars, a book to pass the time, and two guns.

    During the trial it came out that Smith not only believed that he did the right thing when he hid in his basement so he could murder two teens, but he thought he was doing it in self-defense. His claim sparked a debate about Castle Doctrine and whether Smith had overstepped the limits of defending himself. Castle Doctrine essentially says that you can act by any means necessary to defend yourself when someone breaks into your home, but if you pre-meditate a defense, things become murky.

    The jury in Smith's case only took three hours to convict him of premeditated murder and sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Defense Attorney Steve Meshbesher believed that the jury only saw a myopic view of the case because they weren't allowed to hear about the deceased's prior record with the police.

    Smith wasn't wrong in wanting to protect his home. As a government retiree, he was well within his rights to stop two thieves from robbing him blind, but the way he went about stopping the crime was worse than the robbery. According to the recording of the crime that Smith made, he believed that he was doing the world a service by carrying out these vicious murders. On the recording, Smith gives a monologue that would fit right in with a voice over on The Punisher. At one point Smith says: "I felt like I was cleaning up a mess - not like spilled food, not like vomit, not even like… not even like diarrhea - the worst mess possible. And I was stuck with it… in some tiny little respect… in some tiny little respect. I was doing my civic duty." While the justice system does not agree with Smith, there are folks who do, and who set up Facebook pages and crowdfunded bail to help Smith.

    It may seem ludicrous for a murderer to record their crimes, but in the case of Smith, he believed doing so would prove that he was free of all wrongdoing in this double homicide. In the weeks before the crime, Smith had put together an elaborate security system he used to record every inch of his property, 24/7. His neighbor claimed Smith told him "that way, if something happened to him, at least there would be that recording and we would know what it was." Unfortunately for Smith, the recording managed to sway the jury towards a murder conviction.

    One of the strangest pieces of information about the Smith's relationship with the teens was that he'd known them and their friends for over a year. According to Smith's neighbor, Bill Anderson, Smith hired three or four of the kids from the neighborhood to help with work around his house and was well aware that they were stealing from him. He told The Daily Mail, "He fed them dinner; he’d let them use the facilities. He had them chopping wood and clearing trees, using the tractor, odd jobs really."

    After the teens "messed up his tractor" he didn't hire them the next summer and that's when things started going missing from his home. Rather than contact the police, Smith continued to allow the thefts to happen until he decided to enact revenge.

    Prior to the breaking and entering that occurred on Thanksgiving 2012, both of the teens had been linked to multiple small scale burglaries in the neighborhood. The most recent had been a burglary of Smith's home on October 27, 2012, when someone, allegedly Kifer and/or Brady, stole thousands of dollars in cash from a safe, various military medals, and the watch Smith's father received after his time in a POW camp in World War II. Smith claimed that he was frightened for his life after some of his firearms went missing. Smith only reported one break in to the police, but the criminal activity had supposedly gotten so bad that he set up a surveillance system around his home.

    This just popped up in my news feed on Facebook which is why i'm bringing it up 5+ years later.

    Basically on Thanksgiving day 2012 an elderly vet shot and killed w young people who broke into his house with the intent to steal stuff. He got arrested and went to trial. He claimed self-defense but was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life without parole.

    Obviously the jury didn't believe his claim of self-defense but what do you guys think?

    My thoughts are that all of them fucked up. The kids were wrong in breaking in and stealing his shit but come on. He lured them into his house by parking his car down the street and making it look like he wasn't home. After he killed the boy he went after the girl and his gun jammed. he proceeded to clear it and then kill her. He recorded the murder himself and was caught saying that he thought he was doing the right thing.

    I fully believe in the 2nd amendment and a person's right to protect what's there's. However the fact that a self-defense claim was allowed. Looking at everything in the article there is no way this was self-defense and the fact people to this day are saying the kids deserved it and that's disgusting. Punished yes, they did break the law but murdered in cold blood? Nah, they didn't deserve that.

    What say y'all?
    Khalifa and tdmoon like this.
  2. Khalifa

    Khalifa Where it at doe?

    Jul 26, 2008
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    It can’t be self defense if you’re the only one that knows a confrontation is going to happen. Okay sure the kids could suspect someone could be in the house but they broke into the house because it looked like no one was home. It’s no self defense at all but judging by the way America runs I can only say he hasn’t crossed any boundaries, technically. The technicality being self defense of course. You could argue all day about the law or whatever but at the end of the day it’s morally wrong. No one should have the power to end anyone’s life and that’s what I really wanted to touch on. It might be a bit off topic but I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time and nows my chance.

    You say the you believe in the second amendment Milenko, what does that even mean? I know what it means, you have ‘the right’ to bear arms but if your from anywhere but America that sounds like the most ******ed thing ever. You believe in the right that someone mentally fucked up to have a gun. You are giving the right to some horrible person the right to hold a gun, the most powerful thing on this Earth. For what? So you can protect yourself if someone breaks into your home. Is a baseball bat not strong enough? Get dogs and I bet your break ins decrease by 1000%. There is lots of ways to go about protecting yourself without having a gun. Another reason I’m hearing is that “what if the government does this and that”. That’s the most laughable one. First off if you’s are so scared about your government killing people then maybe America isn’t the greatest country in the world and you should leave. Secondly if anyone thinks their piss ass little pistol is going to stop the governments army/military whatever, your more delusional than I thought.

    It’s about 5 years old as well, but John Oliver did a interview with some high up guns club person from America and it’s just some of the most delusional stuff you will ever hear. If any of you’s have 5 minutes and love or laugh at the second ammendment, Then I suggest watching this


    Anyways back on topic. Look i just hate anyone that tries to play god, who are you to dictate whether someone else can live or not, so I’m never going to be in favor of what the man did. There is every reason to believe they wouldn’t of shown up if the guy just didn’t make it look like no one was home, so I believe he deserves everything he gets.
    #hamler likes this.
  3. Jack-Hammer

    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 26, 2009
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    This is pretty damn far from being a case of self defense. In a nutshell, this purposely set up his house to look as though nobody was home in the hopes that someone would break in. Then he set himself up in the basement via prior preparation to wait for the person or persons who broke in to make their way down to the basement and once that happened, he killed them in cold blood.

    Strictly speaking, just because someone breaks into your house doesn't automatically mean you can use lethal force as there are a variety of circumstances that have to be taken into consideration. These two teens did break into his house, that's a crime no question, but lying in wait for them in order to shoot them doesn't equate into an argument of self defense.

    What screwed him up is the recording he made, it's as good as a confession. Had he not made the recording, he could've made up any story he liked and the police would've had a much more difficult case on their hands. After he committed the murders, he could've quickly gone to retrieve his truck and parked it like usual; if asked for his thoughts on why he thought the kids broke into his place with it being all but certain he was still at home, he could've said that he didn't know but maybe it's the fact that he's an old man who lives alone and they didn't see him as a threat. I mean, with a little pre-planning, he could've easily come up with a believable story. However, he didn't go that route because he genuinely, truly, 100% believed that he was justified in what he was doing, that he was really doing the right thing by killing people that he didn't believe deserved to live. It sounds like the old man was unhinged in the first place, though not to the point of legal insanity because, again, his audio recordings clearly show that he was fully cognizant of his own actions.
  4. Rainbow Yaz

    Rainbow Yaz Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst
    E-Fed Mod

    Dec 27, 2011
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    This part right here speaks to me.

    It may just be because of where I grew up and currently live, but I see and hear a lot of stuff about how people are willing to protect their property with deadly force. There is a lot of private land in my area, most of it is farm land, but a decent portion is private owned land, mostly for hunting purposes. A lot of them have the no trespassing or private property signs, but a fair number have also claimed they would have zero hesitation to shoot a trespasser. When my dad was in his late teens he and a friend of his were out deer hunting one year and while trying to track a deer they had shot, stumbled onto private ground. The owner, a fellow hunter, was in his tree stand and spotted them and started to make threats toward them, going so far as his raise his gun at them because they were on his land. Even if it had been them intentionally going on his land, he has zero right (outside of one of those BS stand your ground states) to pull that.

    I also see it in these people who are super in your face about owning a handgun and having a concealed carry license, how they would immediately pull their gun if they found someone in their home. Outside of that fact that I don't think anyone who is that ready and willing to use a gun on another human being needs to own one, most people don't actually know how they are going to react in a situation like that. To me, that makes it all the more dangerous. Hell, they even did a study a whole back and it showed that you can be a responsible gun owner who spends time at a shooting range to improve your marksmanship, but when you are faced with less than those ideal situations your decision making and accuracy go to shit.

    I think people really need to step back a bit. Sure, no one wants to get robbed, but is your TV or laptop really worth taking a life?

    All that aside, the guy in question here wasn't likely a complete package or was trying to prove a point. Outside of the stand your ground states, self defense usually equates to equal or lesser force.
    Khalifa likes this.
  5. Kodo Sawaki

    Kodo Sawaki Championship Contender

    Aug 30, 2012
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    Well for "taking vermins off" part was right. Cant really feel bad for two thieves that robbed old man and tried to do it again. One of my gripes with movie "Don't Breathe" is that they tried to rob blind old man. And how movie demonized old man to try to justify them. Cant really feel empathy for scum who tried to rob old blind man. No matter how movie represents it.

    However, yes, trying to lure them just so you could kill them cant categorize as "self defense". You think you are about to be robbed? Set security system, watch the house yourself and call police or even call police to watch it. Killing them should be the last resort, not something you planned from beginning.
    tdmoon likes this.
  6. Fire Marshall Bill

    Fire Marshall Bill Let me show ya somethin!!!

    Dec 22, 2009
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    Even police can be guilty of entrapment. This sounds just like that, except people were killed. Not to mention the lack of remorse sounds psychotic. If he went to prison, it’s probably for the best.
    tdmoon likes this.

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