Byron Smith should be convicted of premeditated murder

Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

BY: Crane-Station and Frederick Leatherman

Tuesday, April 30, 2014

Good morning:

Closing arguments today in Byron Smith murder trial.

Police found a cell phone jammer on the kitchen table in Byron Smith’s house. Crane and I wondered what it was and why it was there. We looked it up and we believe its presence in his house constitutes powerful evidence of premeditation.
Its presence was unusual and unlawful.

Federal law prohibits the sale and/or possession of cell phone jammers. The only exception is federal law enforcement officials, which he isn’t. The reason for banning them is to prevent people from interfering with or blocking 911 communications.

Byron Smith violated federal law when he acquired and possessed his jammer. Since businesses cannot sell them, people have to jump through some hoops to obtain one. Why would he have gone to all that trouble to acquire a jammer that is illegal to posess unless he had murder in mind.

Premeditation to kill began with his effort to acquire a jammer.

A jammer is certainly an odd thing for a homeowner to acquire because they typically want to call 911, if an emergency happens. Since he obviously did not want to contact 911, we can infer that he did not want the kids to call each other or 911. He did not want anyone interfering with or stopping his little party in the basement and that means he had it planned before they arrived.

Back in the day, I represented many kids who were charged with burglary and I’ve also been a victim of residential burglary. This one appears typical.

Enter the home when the owners are gone, or wait until they leave. One or more go inside while one or more remain outside to warn the kids inside, if someone comes home.

Run like hell if they do.

Kids generally commit residential burglaries for the adrenaline rush and for instant gratification. In addition to money and loose change, they look for booze, pot, pills and porn that they can share with their friends. Electronics are also popular.

Since kids are not sophisticated, they may steal a firearm or several of them, if they find them. They may wind up throwing them away once they realize their friends can’t afford them and no one will buy them. This may be why someone threw Smith’s shotgun in a swamp, assuming that happened.

Kids also raid the refrigerator and generally leave a mess, including some fingerprints, and they almost always confess when the cops arrest them.

They usually only steal what they can conceal and carry away in a backpack.

Their crimes are annoying but seldom cause serious harm. I consider them part of the price of living in an urban environment or residential neighborhood and never got very upset. Residential burglaries are ubiquitous to urban living and one of the reasons we have insurance.

Bored neighborhood kids with sticky fingers can be easily controlled by remembering to lock your doors and windows before you leave your house and getting a dog.

Any professional burglar will tell you that burglar alarms are useless and you would be better off spending your money on a dog. They won’t go near a house with a barking dog.

Along with hating minorities, smart people, liberals, teachers and just about everybody else and everything else you can think of the right wing hate machine hates kids who steal stuff out of homes.

Applying the one-size-fits-all solution, which is the limit to the nuance they can muster to solve any problem, they declare a war on kids and claim we should kill them.

I suspect that more than a few judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, doctors, public officials and police entered residences without permission and stole stuff when they were kids. I’ll bet a lot of members of the right wing hate machine did too.

Executing kids who entered a house without permission is never justified unless the shooter believed he was about to be killed or seriously injured or he believed he had to kill the kid to prevent the kid from committing a felony in the house.

Don’t stop reading there because the most important part of the test is whether a reasonable person would have done the same thing.

Nick and Hailey were kids.

They were unarmed and unable to move or speak, much less harm him, when he finished them off with shots to the head at close range.

Only one thing prevented him from calling 911 for police and medical assistance.

He did not want to because he considered them vermin and he wanted to continue to record and savor his murderous fantasy and provide a running commentary of his acts for future reference.

A lot of words come to mind to describe what he did.

Reasonable is not one of them.

  • Byron Smith and the jury began hearing portions of recornings and here are some additions, captured on the same take.

    Fred to return soon.

    We extend out deepest sadness regarding the devstation. in Arkasas, Kansas, Missiouri, Kentuky, Tennessee, Oklohoma

    Wikipedia Cell Phone Jammers.

    ‘Internet Explorer’ Bug Affects EVERY Version Ever Released
    The Huffington Post UK | Posted: 28/04/2014 10:41 BST | Updated: 28/04/2014 12:59 BST

    ‘Internet Explorer’ Bug Affects EVERY Version Ever Released
    The Huffington Post UK | Posted: 28/04/2014 10:41 BST | Updated: 28/04/2014 12:59 BST

    21 Responses to Byron Smith should be convicted of premeditated murder

    1. Diamonique says:

      Asshole + idiot = ?? He’s an asshole for doing this, and an idiot for recording it. What is the point of recording yourself murdering somebody?

      I’m glad we’re rid of this one. Now if we can just get that other guy — the one who shot into the car full of teenagers.

    2. Malisha says:

      Smith’s job had been to set up security for American Embassies.

      1. Now we know where he got his notion that HE was allowed to do whatever he thought was right to “vermin”;

      2. Did he set up the security for the Embassy at Benghazi?

    3. Malisha says:

      Thank god that mean mofo was convicted. I think I’d have had to personally jam his cell phone if he hadn’t been. 👿

      • ks says:

        Great articles. Thanks. The one about the jury is telling:

        “The two jurors, speaking just hours after their verdicts were delivered, said the picture of Smith that emerged from days of often chilling testimony was of a man who methodically planned for a violent confrontation rather than a homeowner surprised by intruders.

        Several other jurors declined to comment in detail, saying only that it was a tough case to hear but not a tough one to decide.

        Smith’s planning before the shootings — from moving his truck off his property to a neighbor’s home, to surveillance devices set up inside and outside of the home, to laying a tarp at the foot of his stairs — pointed toward him preparing for what happened, Strandberg said.

        “It seemed like he had done many things to either lure them into the house or into the basement itself,” Strandberg said. “Moving the truck was the very first big sign that he had planned something. And then moving the bodies and having the tarp handy had a lot to do with it.”

        Beyond that, Strandberg said, “it seemed like he sat there and waited for it.”

        “It appeared to be that it was, for lack of a better term, his kill zone, where he wanted them to come in and enter, so he could have ample opportunity to kill them,” Strandberg added.

        Some of the jurors believed that Smith waited a full day before reporting the shootings because he wanted to see whether other burglars would show up — even unscrewing bulbs from fixtures as night fell so that any new intruders wouldn’t be able to see in his basement.

        “That was a major issue for us as well,” Strandberg said.

        “We agreed that might have been part of a plan to see if there were more people coming, possibly, or to possibly clean something up or get rid of something,” Strandberg said.

        “I definitely thought that everything he had done was precalculated,” Strandberg said”

    4. Two sides to a story says:

      I’ve lived in several urban neighborhoods where kids prowled around and entered cars, homes, yards. One stole my two kittens – I retrieved one from his mother but have no idea what he did with the other, could never get a straight story. THe same kid tried to steal my bicycle from the yard – fenced but gate not locked. I heard him, turned on the porch light and flung the door open, scaring him off.

      I can’t for the life of me imagine killing kids, even if they entered the house. Just because someone enters your house doesn’t mean they intend to do you bodily harm. Better to just scare the bejesus out of them – and talk to their parents if you can.

      Self-defense laws, even castle doctrine, needs to include common-sense, reasonable action clauses to prevent unnecessary harm, even when criminal acts are being committed. Due process is important, and so is allowing an individual to learn and grow from their mistakes.

    5. MKX says:

      What a contrast.

      The old man in Texas who essentially executed two Mexicans who were burglarizing a neighbors home was found not guilty of anything and deemed a hero.

      Smith is judged, correctly IMO, guilty of executing two teens for the “crime” of being burglars.

    6. Diamonique says:

      I’m confuzzled. Convicted of both charges for both kids? So that’s 4 counts? I don’t understand how it can be both 1st degree and 2nd degree for the same action.

    7. Appropriate verdict.

    8. towerflower says:

      I was wondering about the cell phone jammer, I first thought maybe he had one due to his last job as a security technician for the State Department. I then did an internet search and found it is very easy to purchase one of these. Not only are there numerous sites that sell them, you can even purchase one on Amazon. They may be illegal in the US but they can be purchased from overseas and shipped to the US without jumping through any hoops.

    9. bettykath says:

      With the cell phone blocker I retract my thought of giving him the benefit of the doubt on the first shots. They were all planned. The jury did their job very quickly. Can’t help wondering how long it would have taken if the kids weren’t white.

      • ks says:

        Indeed. I always like reading your posts. Even when I may disgaree on a particular point, they are always well balanced.

        “Can’t help wondering how long it would have taken if the kids weren’t white.”

        I think we both know the sad truth. Probale acquital or hung jury at best.

        • bettykath says:

          ks, thanks for the kind words. You will no longer have the right to disagree with me when I reach perfection. At the current rate of progress toward perfection, disagreement is good. It helps the process 🙂

    10. towerflower says:

      He was convicted of 1st and 2nd degree murder for both teens. Which I do feel is appropriate.

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