Teen Accused of Killing Grandparents Makes Court Appearance, Formally Charged

KCRG/Gazette Staff Reports

Sheriff officers lead Isaiah Sweet into the Clayton County Courthouse in Elkader, Iowa Tuesday May 15, 2012 for his initial appearance. Sweet is being charged for killing his grandparents Richard and Janet Sweet of Manchester, Iowa. on Friday May 11. (AP/Dubuque Telegraph Herald/ Pool)

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By Aaron Hepker

ELKADER, Iowa - A 17-year-old Manchester teen charged in a double homicide case made a first court appearance Tuesday afternoon in Clayton County.

17-year-old Isaiah Sweet faces two counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say Isaiah killed Janet Sweet, 62, and Richard Sweet, 55, of Manchester, over the weekend. Sweet admitted to killing his grandparents to three people over the weekend, according to the arrest warrant filed Monday in Delaware County District Court.

Sweet appeared in Clayton County because that was the closest available district judge to oversee his initial appearance. District Judge Monica Ackley said future appearances will take place in Delaware County.

Ackley set bond in the amount of $1-million cash. She also ordered the defendant to have no contact with any witnesses named in the criminal complaint. A preliminary hearing date of May 25th was also set, but such hearings are routinely cancelled when the county attorney files what’s called trial information.

Sweet made no real comment in court, but did nod to someone sitting in back. That person later identified himself only as a friend from school but made no other comments.

The bodies of Janet & Richard Sweet were found Sunday afternoon at their home, 109 Deann Drive in Manchester, when relatives arrived for a Mother’s Day gathering. Isaiah Sweet also lived at the home.

WATCH: Isaiah Sweet Court Appearance

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The hunt for Isaiah came to an end just after 7 Monday night after his arrest in a wooded area in northeast Cedar Rapids. Sweet was taken into custody following a short foot chase with officers along railroad tracks just south of Blairs Ferry NE Road between Center Point Road and Council Street, police said. Officers spent nearly two hours searching the area following a tip that he was in the area. The search for Isaiah spanned three counties.

Sweet was being held on a $1 million cash-only-bond.

A $1,000 reward for information leading to Sweet’s capture was offered by CrimeStoppers in Iowa City, where police had held him on unrelated charges Sunday morning.

Sweet admitted to killing his grandparents to three people over the weekend, according to the arrest warrant filed Monday in Delaware County District Court.

First, he told a woman over the phone Friday that he had drugged his grandparents and he thought they were dead because he could not find a pulse. He called her back on Saturday and confirmed his grandparents were dead.

Another witness told police she met Sweet on Saturday and he returned on Sunday asking her to help him find a place to stay. He told her then that he had killed his grandparents and told her “not to be scared.”

A third witness said Sweet had called him Saturday and told him he was “on the run” because he had killed his grandparents.

According to the complaint, Janet and Richard Sweet were believed to be alive early Friday night. A phone call was made from her cellphone about 6:24 p.m., and he was seen by a neighbor about 7:30 p.m.

Authorities said autopsies were conducted Monday by the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny but the causes of deaths were not released.

Isaiah Sweet's next court appearance is scheduled for Friday, May 25 in Delaware County Court.

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Isaiah Sweet, double murder suspect on Dipity

Read the Criminal Complaint


Isaiah Sweet's Recent Twitter Updates
Editor's Note: Some Tweets have been removed due to explicit content

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