Records Show Many Police Calls to Home of Manchester Murder Victims

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

A Manchester Police car is parked outside of 109 Deann Drive, Manchester, Iowa, on the morning of Monday, May 14, 2012. (Matt Nelson/The Gazette - KCRG-TV9)

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By Aaron Hepker

MANCHESTER, Iowa - Police were called to the home of Richard and Janet Sweet 18 times within a year over violent encounters with their grandson Isaiah Sweet, who is accused of killing them, but they declined to pursue charges, according to police service call reports.

Manchester Police Chief Bruce Trapp said Tuesday he couldn’t comment on what officers said to the Sweets during the incidents from March 2011 to last month but usually officers will offer to help them get in touch with services to aid them.

The service calls included Richard, 55, and Janet, 62, Sweet asking for help with their grandson because he was threatening them, kicking his grandfather, using drugs, arguing with them and not coming home at night. In many of the calls, officers who responded asked the Sweets if they wanted to pursue charges against their grandson but they refused.

Isaiah Sweet, 17, was charged last week with two counts of first-degree murder. According to a search warrant, Isaiah admitted to police he shot his grandparents, who were his legal guardians, after contemplating hitting Richard Sweet with a baseball bat.

The bodies of Richard and Janet Sweet were found by relatives lying on a living room sofa, each with gunshot wounds to the head. Family members found the bodies in the Manchester home May 13 as they were coming over to celebrate Mother’s Day.

The most recent call April 11, before the Sweet’s death, concerned Isaiah using a lighter and a can of aerosol to make a blow torch. Richard Sweet told a dispatcher he was a truck driver on the road and his grandson Isaiah was home with his grandmother attempting to start fires in the house.

According to the officer, Janet Sweet didn’t want him charged. She just wanted him “back under control.” Nobody was hurt in the incident.

The calls seemed to escalate in 2011. The calls went from a “little family dispute” March 28, 2011 to Isaiah Sweet kicking his grandfather in the stomach May 16, 2011. During that call, an officer stated Isaiah tried to bring his bike inside the house, Janet Sweet told him to put it in the garage and he cursed her and refused to do it.

Richard Sweet overheard this and also told Isaiah to put his bike in the garage, according to the records. Isaiah told police his grandfather hit him in the face and that’s why he kicked him but Janet and Richard Sweet told the officer Richard didn’t “lay a hand on him.”

At this point, Stacy Sweet, Isaiah’s mother, arrived at the house and took Isaiah to her home for the night, according to the records. The officer stated in the report that Janet and Richard Sweet were Isaiah’s legal guardians.

Other calls for service:

-June 22, 2011, Isaiah was arguing with his grandfather for most of the day and his grandparents said Isaiah was making threats towards the family, police and the public, according to the records. Isaiah told police “it was stupid and he would not do it.”

-The officer noted the family was trying to get Isaiah in for an “evaluation” but he’s not cooperating. Richard and Janet Sweet wanted the officer to take Isaiah in but the officer didn’t see “cause at the time.” The grandparents then asked about placing him in foster care and the officer told them that wasn’t an option because his mother could take him in, but they didn’t want that.

-June 30, 2011, Isaiah was taken for mental commitment to St. Luke’s and there was a request for police to be in the area in case assistance was needed, according to the records. No other notes on the report.

-Aug. 2, 2011, Janet Sweet said her grandson was being violent. He broke a phone and then left.

-Aug. 3, 2011, The Sweets said they didn’t know what to do with Isaiah since he returned from his commitment. They were having problems with him and they had an order for a commitment but didn’t know if they should use it. The officer advised them to speak with their counselor or therapist.

-Sept. 2, 2011, Betty Adsit reports her great grandson Isaiah Sweet stole $100 from her purse and left school after second hour class.

- Sept. 8, 2011, Richard Sweet said Isaiah was threatening his sick wife and threatening to beat up and kill him and burn down their house. Isaiah didn’t respond to the officer’s commands when he arrived and at one point, Isaiah got up from the couch and “went towards” his grandparents and police intervened. His grandparents didn’t want to pursue charges and Isaiah was released to their custody. Officers warned Isaiah if they returned, he would be charged.

- Oct. 4, 2011, Janet Sweet saying trouble with Isaiah.

- Oct. 5, 2011, Grandparents said Isaiah was calling them names and wouldn’t come home at night.

-Oct. 7, 2011, Richard Sweet reports a 16 1/2 year old is threatening Isaiah.

-Oct. 8, 2011, Janet Sweet reports a missing bottle of medication.

-Oct. 11, 2011, Janet Sweet said Isaiah is asking for money again and she believes it for drugs. Some of the report is redacted and the next line states – “threatened to beat them up and break into the house.” An officer talked to Isaiah and he said he didn’t know what was going on. He doesn’t like being at home.

- Oct. 20, 2011, Janet Sweet said she found marijuana pipe in Isaiah’s room and now he is gone. “They have not sought an order for pickup yet for his substance abuse. Richard has overheard conversation about Isaiah selling marijuana.”

- Oct. 26, 2011, Police conduct consent search of Sweet’s home and find marijuana pipe.
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