Search Warrant Reveals New Details in Manchester Double Murder

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 - Isaiah Sweet stood behind his grandfather with a baseball bat, contemplating hitting him, before shooting both his grandparents, according to a search warrant filed Friday in Delaware County District Court.

Isaiah Sweet, 17, of Manchester, told investigators he decided later to shoot his grandparents, Janet, 62, and Richard, 55, of Manchester, according to a search warrant. Family members, who had gone to the Sweets’ home about 2 p.m. May 13, found a back window broken out and then found the bodies of Janet and Richard Sweet on a living room sofa. They each both had bullet wounds to the head, according to the warrant.

In the past, Manchester Police had been called to the Sweets for verbal and physical abuse involving Isaiah, Richard and Janet Sweet, according to the search warrant. No further details of the abuse were included in the warrant.

Isaiah Sweet was charged with first-degree murder last week after a short manhunt in Cedar Rapids. According to a criminal complaint, Isaiah Sweet told three witnesses he killed his grandparents. The last time Janet and Richard Sweet were thought to be alive was the evening of May 11. An autopsy report released last week revealed the couple died from gunshot wounds but police haven’t indicated when they may have died and there was no information in the search warrant.

According to the search warrant, no weapon was found in the home by family members, but investigators found one spent rifle casing on the floor of the living room.

Isaiah Sweet, who lived with his grandparents, wasn’t at the home when the family or the police arrived, according to the search warrant. A 2005 silver Chevrolet Avalanche pickup registered to Richard and Janet Sweet was also missing that day. It was found later that day in the possession of Isaiah Sweet about 2:40 p.m. in Iowa City.

Isaiah Sweet had been stopped by Iowa City police at a convenience store in the early morning hours of May 13 and was cited for driving with a suspended license. Police at that time didn’t know about his grandparents death.

Kelli Fisher, 19, of Cedar Rapids, who met Isaiah Sweet for the first time May 12, told The Gazette last week he was driving his grandparents pickup without their consent. Isaiah Sweet gave Fisher and her three friends a ride to a party in Iowa City, she said.

According to the search warrant, Isaiah Sweet told investigators he was wearing sweatpants at the time of the shooting and had left them at the home. Police collected two pairs of sweatpants and a baseball bat from Isaiah’s room.

Other items collected from other rooms in the house included a computer, three bags of bullet fragments, one bag of lead fragments, two bags of copper fragments, a Rolex watch, one prayer card, boxer shorts, a Nike T-shirt, Nike shoes, socks, jeans, two knives and brown leather pouch containing ammunition.
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