By Associated Press - Monday, March 22, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up the appeal of a Minnesota man serving two life sentences for killing two teenage burglars.

Attorneys for Byron Smith, of Little Falls, said in a release Monday that their petition to have the high court hear the case was denied following four conferences by justices.

Smith’s lawyers have argued through the appeal process that the courtroom was improperly closed to discuss admissibility of witnesses, depriving Smith of his right to a public trial.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissenting opinion that the Minnesota Supreme Court was wrong when it ruled that so-called administrative proceedings can be closed to the public.

Smith was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in the Thanksgiving Day 2012 shootings of 18-year-old Haile Kifer and her 17-year-old cousin, Nick Brady. Smith said his home had been burglarized several times and the shootings were in self-defense.

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