Man Charged in Manchester Couple's Homicide Tells Police He Suggested Killing Methods
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
MANCHESTER, Iowa – A 19-year-old charged in the double homicide of a Manchester couple told police he had several discussions with the couple's grandson about how to kill them, according to the criminal complaint.
Brandon Ahlers of Manchester told investigators May 11, he suggested Isaiah Sweet take his grandparents, Janet and Richard Sweet, to a farm and let hogs kill them, drugging them and cutting their throats and shooting them, according to an affidavit for the criminal complaint. Ahlers discouraged Isaiah Sweet from using an assault rifle in the house because "everyone" could hear the gunshots.
Ahlers appeared in Delaware County District Court Tuesday and was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting in first-degree murder. He is accused of assisting Isaiah Sweet, 17, in slaying Isaiah's grandparents and legal guardians, Janet, 62, and Richard, 55, Sweet. Ahlers, arrested Monday, remains in the Delaware County Jail under a $500,000 cash only bond.
Isaiah Sweet was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the May 11, double homicide. He is accused of fatally shooting his grandparents who were found with shotgun wounds to the head.
The bodies of Richard and Janet Sweet were found by relatives lying on a living room sofa May 13, according to a search warrant. Family members found the bodies as they were coming over to celebrate Mother's Day.
According to an earlier search warrant, Isaiah Sweet admitted to shooting his grandparents and contemplated beating his grandfather with a baseball bat before shooting the couple. The weapon wasn't found at the scene but investigators recovered a spent rifle casing from the home.
Ahlers told investigators Isaiah Sweet asked him to come over to discuss killing his grandparents, according to the affidavit filed Monday. Ahlers said he also suggested using nicotine to cause them to overdose and die, and poisoning the couple with cyanide.
All the discussions between he and Isaiah took place throughout the night of May 11 and were specific to killing Janet and Richard Sweet, according to the affidavit.
Isaiah Sweet told investigators he confessed to Ahlers about wanting to kill his grandparents and steal their property, according to the affidavit.
In independent interviews, Ahlers and Isaiah told investigators Isaiah asked Brandon how to load ammunition into the assault rifle, according to the affidavit. Ahlers had experience with guns. Ahlers said he thought if Isaiah used the rifle he would hear it and would have called police. Isaiah told him during a phone conversation "I'll get a hold of you when it's done."
Ahlers said he talked to Isaiah again on the phone shortly after that and Isaiah told him he killed Janet and Richard Sweet, according to the affidavit. Ahlers told police he may have heard the gunshot. Ahlers told Isaiah to come over to his house and he could get rid of the guns.
Shortly after that conversation, Isaiah came over driving a Chevrolet Avalanche and Isaiah flipped up a blanket in the backseat to reveal an assault rifle, a shotgun and a television, according to the affidavit. Isaiah said "Here you go. Here it is." Ahlers then took the rifle and put it in his girlfriend's car so he could take it to Greely the next day.
Ahlers said on May 12, he went to Greely and negotiated the sale of the rifle for $50 with Cody Kuehl, according to the affidavit. Kuehl told police he bought the gun from Ahlers and gave it to his brother, Jason Aldean.
Isaiah Sweet later identified that rifle as the one he used to shoot his grandparents, according to the affidavit. Isaiah told investigators Ahlers wanted to steal Richard Sweet's truck and asked where the title was kept.
Ahlers told investigators he entered the home of Janet and Richard Sweet on May 13, by crawling through a window and saw two dead bodies on the floor. He then went into the garage, looked at Richard Sweet's truck, unlocked the garage and then left. Ahlers went to his uncle's home and his uncle told him to retrieve the gun. He then went and got the gun from Aldean's girlfriend, Destiny Schjodt and took it to investigators.
Isaiah Sweet has pleaded not guilty and his trial is set Aug. 1, in Delaware County District Court. He remains in jail under a $1 million bond.