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Isaiah Sweet Pleads Guilty To Two First-Degree Murder Charges
by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Isaiah Sweet pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder Monday afternoon in the shooting deaths of his grandparents, Richard and Janet Sweet, in their Manchester home in May 2012.
Sweet, 18, read a statement in Dubuque County District Court admitting his guilt, just after the prosecution had rested their case.
Sentencing was set for Dec. 18 in Delaware County District Court.
Jurors watched Sweet's recorded interview a few days after he shot his grandparents. In that interview, Sweet told investigators his grandfather, Richard Sweet, made his life a living hell.
He described Richard as a verbally abusive alcoholic. He says on Friday May 11th, 2012, he simply couldn't take it anymore and just snapped.
Sweet cried while describing exactly how he shot and killed them.
He says the couple was asleep on the couch when he pulled the trigger on Richard. He said, Janet woke up and asked what was going on. That's when he shot her twice in the head.
Sweet says he'd lived with Richard and Janet since he was four years old. He said the months leading up to the murder, Richard told Isaiah he was worthless and suggested Isaiah kill himself. Isaiah said he'd first planned to kill Richard using either a baseball bat or spiking his drink with nicotine poison.
He said as soon as he shot them, he knew it was the wrong thing to do. Sweet told the investigator, "I went up to the bodies and I just broke down and started crying and told him how much I love them. I've tried to kill myself every single night since in happened. "
During the interview Sweet repeatedly told police he was proud of himself for being so upfront and honest with officers. Sweet said, "I am a smart criminal. I have an incredible mind".
Police asked him why he hid from police for a few days after the murder. He said, because he wanted to keep living for a few more days until he got caught.
Earlier Monday, District Court Judge Michael Shubatt denied a request for a mistrial in Sweet's trial.
"The bell was rung, but the noise was not resounding," Shubatt said Monday morning.
Attorneys for Sweet, 18, accused of killing his grandparents in their Manchester home in May 2012, requested the mistrial after DCI Special Agent Ward Crowley mentioned in his testimony that his investigation found six images at Isaiah Sweet's home that he considered child pornography.
Both the defense and prosecution had agreed prior to the trial to omit that fact.
Shubatt told jurors to strike that statement from their consideration, but the defense, claiming the statement was prejudicial to their client, moved for a mistrial.
Shubatt said Crowley did not mention who was responsible for viewing that pornographic material, and he doubted jurors focused on that comment.