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Byron Smith refuses to testify in burglar-killer trial; defense rests

Judge chides FBI on ‘domestic terrorism’ case; KSTP sued in cop-killing case; a Vikings medallion on the new Strib building?; and more.

Byron Smith will take his chances without speaking in his own defense. David Unze’s story for the St. Cloud Times says, “The defense has rested its case in the Byron Smith murder trial without calling Smith to testify. Jurors will reconvene at 1 p.m. Monday to hear jury instructions. Closing arguments likely will happen Tuesday morning. The defense called nine witnesses before Smith invoked his right to remain silent and not testify.”

For the Strib, Pam Louwagie writes, “Smith’s attorney, Steve Meshbesher said outside the courtroom Monday that he advised Smith, 65, not to testify, though Smith was willing. ‘He in effect did testify,’ through his audio taped police interview, Meshbesher said. … A defense investigator testified Monday that Smith couldn’t have seen right away whether intruders had weapons as they descended his basement stairs.”

That’ll be 40 months, Bucky. Says Randy Furst in the Strib, “Buford ‘Bucky’ Rogers, arrested a year ago in what the FBI called a major terrorist plot, was sentenced on Monday to three years and four months after federal authorities decided to charge him with lesser crimes of illegal possession of a firearm and two small, unregistered explosive devices. … U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said the case received an ‘inordinate amount of attention’ for what turned out to be an ordinary weapons possession offense.”

Earlier, Amy Forliti of the AP wrote, “Prosecutors … said criticizing the FBI’s response in hindsight is ‘naive, self-serving and dangerous,’ noting that at the time, Rogers ‘was part of a group cheering the Boston bombing, possessed explosive devices, and planned to conduct violent acts imminently.’ Mohring said the witness who reported the threat was unreliable, and that aside from the weapons, no evidence has confirmed the existence of a plot to attack anything. Prosecutors countered by saying the fact that a broader plot was not discovered is not an excuse, but merely ‘evidences the absence of additional inculpatory behavior.’” Excuse me, what?

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Defamation damages in excess of $50,000. Chao Xiong of the Strib reports, “A Minnesota man wrongly identified in some 2012 media reports as the killer of Cold Spring police officer Thomas Decker is suing KSTP-TV for a newscast that said he murdered the officer, according to a suit filed in Ramsey County District Court. … According to the suit: The station broadcast a color picture of Larson’s mug shot several times during the 5 p.m. newscast that also featured an emotional interview with Decker’s mother. At least two of the station’s reporters said Larson was charged in the crime when that wasn’t the case. … .” The lack of a correction doesn’t help KSTP’s case.

Got $8 million you don’t know what to do with … ? At The Current, Jay Gabler tells us, “It’s Prince’s house of pain, but it can be your new dream home: a 13-room villa on the coast of the Alboran Sea in southern Spain. “Music Star Prince’s Villa IN Marbella West For Sale!” enthuses the listing on ‘Love Your Dreams…and Live Your Dreams’! Don’t expect to find any 3RDEYEGIRL merch or Super Bowl towels lying around: Prince hasn’t visited the house in more than ten years, notes Consequence of Sound,” since a divorce. I hope he’s been getting a little cash flow via VRBO traffic … .

The GleanAt MPR, Eric Ringham gets a little misty-eyed at the passing of the Star Tribune building (where he once worked). “Giant stone medallions fixed to the front of the building heralded sectors of the economy that were important to Minnesota in the 1940s: Mining, farming, tourism, milling, logging. A newspaper wouldn’t dare build such a headquarters today. ‘You mean you’re in favor of mining? And you support using animals for food?’ People would accuse the publisher of being in the pocket of Big Wheat. And that’s the point: In those days, newspaper publishers weren’t shy about letting the world know whose side they were on.” Eric, if reminding everyone “whose side” the paper is on is important you, may I suggest a new logo incorporating architectural highlights of the various taxpayer-subsidized stadiums it has hyped, with perhaps a subtle inscription from the commissioner of the NFL?

So who walks ahead picking up the broken beer bottles … ? WCCO-TV’s Mike Binkley has a story about barefoot hiking. “Members of the group eagerly soak in what others avoid — the bumps, grooves and edges of the Earth’s surface. Jane Maloney, a computer software salesperson from Burnsville, has been hiking with the group for about six years. ‘Kids like to run in the mud and squish their toes in the mud and things like that’, she said. ‘Maybe it brings me back to being a little kid again.’”

Without interrupting your enjoyment of today’s warm spring sun, the splashes of blooming color, the happy buzz of working bees … . Jason Samenow of The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang blog writes, “CWG’s Matt Rogers computed U.S. summer temperatures for the 5 years with the highest and lowest peak ice extent over the Great Lakes, since 1973. He found summer temperatures average below normal in the high-ice years and above normal in the low-ice years. … In the past icy years over the Great Lakes, this pattern has tended to last into summer.” In other words … today could be summer.