- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014
Minn. man who shot, killed teens heads to trial

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) - After a central Minnesota man repeatedly shot a teen who entered his home, he dragged the boy’s bloodied body into a basement workshop, authorities say, sat down - and waited.

When another teen began descending the stairway minutes later, Byron Smith fired again. The girl tumbled down the stairs and he shot her some more, including what he allegedly called “a good, clean finishing shot” into her head as she gasped for air, according to a criminal complaint.

It was Thanksgiving Day, 2012, and Smith, 65, left the teens’ bodies in his basement overnight before asking a neighbor to call police, the complaint said.

Smith, of Little Falls, claims he was defending himself. Though the teens were unarmed, he told police he’d been burglarized before and feared they had a weapon. He faces two counts of premeditated, first-degree murder in a case that rocked this quiet city of about 8,000 and stirred debate about just how far a person can go to protect one’s home from a potential threat.

On Monday, attorneys will begin selecting jurors to decide whether Smith acted reasonably when he shot Nick Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, or whether his actions amounted to a cold-blooded, calculated execution.


Maplewood police investigating body found in creek

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (AP) - Police are investigating after the body of a woman was found partially submerged in a creek near a walking path in Maplewood.

Police say the woman’s body was discovered Saturday. There were no obvious signs of foul play. The woman was fully clothed and wearing hiking boots, but was not carrying identification.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office was conducting an autopsy to positively identify the woman.

Police say she had not been reported missing.


Frostbite survivor plans return to college

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - A University of Minnesota Duluth student who suffered severe frostbite after a night in subzero temperatures is now walking normally, handling everyday tasks, and planning to return to school next fall.

Alyssa Lommel told the St. Cloud Times (https://on.sctimes.com/1sVND6whttps://on.sctimes.com/1sVND6w ) that she’s had some difficult days over the past four months, including dealing with the loss of parts of her hands and feet. She said she’s gotten through the hard times with the support of friends, family and strangers.

“There was tears shed and it was definitely hard, but after a while you realize, ‘That’s just me,’” Lommel said. “That is how I am. This is the new me.”

Lommel, 19, was found unconscious in Duluth on Dec. 7. She had been outside for nine hours on a night when temperatures got as low as minus 17 degrees. Her body temperature had dropped to 79 degrees Farenheit, which is a few degrees below the point at which the heart stops functioning normally, and her hands had swollen to three times their normal size.

She spent weeks in a coma at the burn center at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital. Doctors cut open her arms to relieve swelling and restart circulation, and cut open her stomach to give her lungs room to expand.


1st ice-out declared in 6 Minnesota lakes

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - In a true sign of spring, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has declared official ice-out dates for six lakes in the state.

All six lakes are shallow bodies of water in southern Minnesota. They were officially declared ice-free last week.

The first was Iowa Lake in Martin County, which saw ice-out on Tuesday. The other five lakes were Hall Lake, Budd Lake, Park Lake, Smith Lake and Lake Shetek.

The Star Tribune reports (https://strib.mn/1n4ptp9https://strib.mn/1n4ptp9 ) the spring thaw is starting a few weeks later than usual, after a bitterly cold winter.

None of the lakes in the Twin Cities metro area have been declared ice-free. The metro-area lakes usually see ice-out around the beginning of April.

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