EXCLUSIVE: Inside the home of Byron Smith

EXCLUSIVE: Inside the home of Byron Smith

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LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (KMSP) -

They say that a man's home is his castle, but Bryon Smith's house in Little Falls has been called a fortress and a trap -- one that he created and ultimately became the last place two teens would ever go. Now, Fox 9 News got a tour of the property that jurors never did.

MORE: Last images of murdered teens

Smith is currently serving a life sentence after he was convicted of first-degree murder after he admitted to the fatal double-shooting that claimed the lives of 18-year-old Halie Kifer and her 17-year-old cousin, Nick Brady, on Thanksgiving Day.

VERDICT: Bryon Smith guilty of first-degree murder

For the first time, the locked chain at the end of Smith's long private drive came down for Fox 9 News cameras on Thursday. Our crew was granted access to the now overgrown 16-acre property along the backwaters of the Mississippi River.

The alarm on the front door was still activated when neighbor and friend Bill Anderson escorted Fox 9 cameras inside.

"I think there's lots of unanswered questions people have," Anderson said.

The first stop of the tour is Smith's bedroom, where shattered glass still lies were it fell nearly 2 years after the deadly break-in.

"He came in right here," Anderson explained.

It's a good 20 paces from the back corner bedroom to the basement stairwell where the shooting occurred. The trial that followed posed a controversial question: Was it cold-blooded murder or self-defense?

MORE: The Byron Smith murder trial

The stairs are narrow, the quarters tight. Brady and Kifer could not have seen Smith sitting off to their hard left in his reading chair. He was just feet away, obscured between two bookcases.

"Byron loves to read," another friend and neighbor John Lange told Fox 9 News. "Look at all the books. That was his reading chair."

Prosecutors called that chair Smith's "deer stand," but Lang says that's not the case. In fact, he remains convinced that Smith had to shoot to kill because he feared the teen intruders might be armed. A rash of prior break-ins left him scared out of his mind, Lange said.

"If I am hiding a gun here, Bang! He's dead. Byron didn't have much choice," Lange said.

The jury, however, disagreed and sided with prosecutors who contended that Smith lured the teens to his home and laid in wait for them, shooting Brady first and then hiding his body in a tarp before Kifer came in.

Smith's friends showed the interior basement room where Smith dragged the bodies and left them for a full day before police were notified. Through another door, his workshop and the surveillance monitors for the four cameras that Smith hung around the house can be found. If he was watching those screens on Thanksgiving Day, he would have seen the teens casing his home for some 12 minutes as they prepared to break in.

"I would have done the same thing," Lange said. "I would have been terrified."

Jurors took just 3 hours to convict Smith of first-degree murder, but his defense team -- led by attorney Steve Meshbesher -- insists the jury didn't get the whole story because the judge blocked what they call key evidence and witnesses. Now, they're asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to toss out the verdict and grant a new trial.

"I think it's important to let people know what happened," Anderson said.

Meanwhile, Brady's grandfather believes the law is on their side and will remain so.

"Meshbesher is not a good loser," Steve Schaeffel said.

Schaffel told Fox 9 News he believes that people wrongfully believe the trial was about protecting property.

"It was never about that," he said. "After the verdict, the next morning you still had the right to protect your property. What you don't have the right to do is commit murder."

FROM THE FOX 9 ARCHIVE

April 30, 2014: Juror reveals details of Byron Smith trial, deliberation

April 30, 2014: Evidence from Bryon Smith murder trial unveiled

April 29, 2014: Families of murdered teens speak out after conviction

Dec. 2, 2014: Hundreds attend funeral for Little Falls teens

Nov. 28, 2012: Little Falls robbery victim: If teens hadn't broken in, they'd be alive

Nov. 26, 2012: Charges detail Smith's confession: 'I used more shots than I needed to'

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