Isaiah Sweet Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Chance for Parole

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

MANCHESTER, Iowa — The northeast Iowa teen who pleaded guilty to killing his grandparents in October has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Defense attorneys for Isaiah Sweet, now 19, argued he should not spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering his grandparents.

But during today's sentencing, the judge said that he considered the "cold-blooded" nature and planning of the crime, and he did not think Sweet could be rehabilitated.

"While the defendant's maturity level at the time of the crime is debatable these were not the crimes of impetuosity," Judge Michael Shubatt said.

The judge also added "the defendant may be young but that has not stopped him from showing the world who he is. He is extremely dangerous."

Sweet pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in October after he was accused of killing his grandparents, Richard and Janet Sweet, in their Manchester home in May 2012.

Despite a plea deal that would have sent Sweet to prison for the rest of his life, defense attorneys argued that Sweet was still a teenager at the time of the murders and that he should get a reduced sentence.

During the first sentencing hearing, the defense had argued for a prison term that would have made Sweet eligible for parole after 25 years.

During Sweet's trial, prosecutors played a videotaped interview with Sweet after his arrest in May of 2012. He described his plans to kill his grandparents, admitting to shooting them in the head. He later echoed the admissions to the court as part of the plea deal.

Following today's sentencing, family members of the victims said that they were relieved that the judge did not reduce the sentence.

"I couldn't wrap my head around anything else but life in prison," said Angie Camlin, Janet Sweet's daughter. She said she feels safer now that Isaiah will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Camlin also said, "I feel safer, I don't feel I have to look over my shoulder 20 or 30 years from now or have my grandchildren walk the same streets as someone who cannot be helped."

A U.S Supreme Court ruling in 2012 required judges to consider whether juvenile offenders could be rehabilitated rather than imposing an automatic life sentence for a serious crime. One prosecutor said this was the first Iowa cases where the issue came up following the high court ruling.

We'll have more from today's sentencing tonight on the KCRG-TV9 News at 5 & 6.
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