Relatives Tell Judge to Give Isaiah Sweet Maximum Sentence

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

MANCHESTER, Iowa — The sentencing of a northeast Iowa teen who pleaded guilty to killing his grandparents in October has been recessed until March after testimony presented during a sentencing hearing Wednesday morning. During the hearing, defense attorneys for Isaiah Sweet, now 19, argued he should not spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering his grandparents. 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. On Wednesday Sweet asked the judge to consider the fact that he was only 17 at the time of the murders. Isaiah Sweet said, "This wasn't just because I was abused as a child. It wasn't something that I can blame on someone else. " Sweet told the judge he's young and wants a chance to rehabilitate himself. But Janet Sweet's daughter, Angie Camlin says Isaiah's age shouldn't matter. Camlin said, "What's the real difference in the remaining one month he had until he turned 18? I believe it was part of his plan to kill before he was 18. " Sweet's mother, Stacy Sweet, says her son is remorseful and has been ever since the 2012 killings. Stacy said, "He was on suicide watch after this happened and in jail. He was wetting his pants because he was so traumatized he couldn't control this bladder. " Sweet's attorney called Dr. Stephen Hart to the stand. The Psychologist evaluated Sweet one year after the killings. "He was 17 years old going on somewhere around 12, 13 or 14 in terms of his physiological and social maturation," said Dr. Hart. Dr. Hart says Sweet's mother neglected him as a young child. He says during that time, a baby-sitter sexually abused Isaiah. He says that could be a factor in Sweet's emotional attachment disorder. "What we've got is a kid who's seriously impaired in his ability to deal with normal adolescent challenges," said Hart. Despite a plea deal that would send 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. In October, Sweet pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder during his criminal trial. During the trial, prosecutors played a videotaped interview with Isaiah 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. Other family members spoke at Wednesday's hearing urging a judge to give Sweet the maximum prison sentence for the murders. "What's amazing to me is that he showed no remorse for these crimes. This is obviously a dangerous person," Camlin said. The judge recessed the sentencing hearing until March 11.
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