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Defense says Minnesota homeowner used recording for protection; jurors saw it as key evidence

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    CORRECTS SPELLING OF HAILE - Jay Kifer, the father of Haile Kifer, gets a hug from his aunt Bonnie Czech, after Byron Smith was found guilty in the murders of Nick Brady, 17, and Kifer, 18, at the Morrison County Courthouse in Little Falls, Minn., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Smith, a Minnesota homeowner shot and killed the teenagers during a 2012 Thanksgiving Day break-in, was convicted of premeditated murder. The jury took only about three hours to reject his claim of self-defense. He was immediately sentenced to life without parole. Smith was immediately sentenced to life without parole. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT. (The Associated Press)

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    CORRECTS SPELLING TO HAILE - Jay and Jenny Kifer, right, the parents of Haile Kifer who was murdered, react during a news conference, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, after the homeowner Byron Smith was sentenced in Little Falls, Minn. Smith, who shot and killed Nick Brady, 17, and Haile, 18, during a 2012 Thanksgiving Day break-in, was convicted of premeditated murder. The jury took only about three hours to soundly reject his claim of self-defense. Smith was immediately sentenced to life without parole. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT. (The Associated Press)

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    Kimberly Brady, mother of Nick Brady, arrives at the murder trial of Byron Smith at Morrison County Courthouse, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Little Falls, Minn. Smith, a Minnesota homeowner shot and killed Nick, 17, and Haile Kiefer, 18, during a 2012 Thanksgiving Day break-in, was convicted of premeditated murder. The jury took only about three hours to reject his claim of self-defense. He was immediately sentenced to life without parole. Smith was immediately sentenced to life without parole. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT. (The Associated Press)

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    Steve Schaeffel, grandfather of Nick Brady, arrives at the Morrison County Courthouse during Byron Smith's trial for the murders of Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, in Little Falls, Minn., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Smith, who shot and killed the two teenagers during a 2012 Thanksgiving Day break-in, was convicted of premeditated murder Tuesday. The jury took only about three hours to reject his claim of self-defense. He was immediately sentenced to life without parole. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT. (The Associated Press)

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    Steve Meshbesher, Byron Smith's attorney, re-enters court following jury deliberation at the Morrison County Courthouse in Little Falls, Minn., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Smith, who killed two teenagers during a 2012 Thanksgiving Day break-in, was convicted of premeditated murder. The jury took only about three hours to reject his claim of self-defense. He was immediately sentenced to life without parole. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT. (The Associated Press)

Jurors say an audio recording of a central Minnesota homeowner shooting two teens who broke into his home was a key piece of evidence in his conviction.

Sixty-five-year-old Byron Smith was found guilty Tuesday of premeditated murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile (HAY'-lee) Kifer.

One juror tells The Associated Press that the audio recording was "damning evidence." Wes Hatlestad also says the jury decided Smith's actions weren't in self-defense.

But defense attorney Steve Meshbesher says Smith made that recording because he was afraid he'd be killed in his own home and wanted to have evidence for police.

Smith was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole. Meshbesher says he plans to appeal.

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