Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog
BY: Crane-Station and Frederick Leatherman
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 Haile 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: Mobile Phone Jammers.