Teen Pleads Not Guilty in Manchester Double Homicide, Trial Set for September
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
MANCHESTER, Iowa - A 19-year-old who told police he suggested ways to kill a Manchester couple in May pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Delaware County District Court.
Brandon Ahlers of Manchester pleaded not guilty in writing to two counts of aiding and abetting in first-degree murder. His trial is set Sept. 12. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.
Ahlers, charged last month, is accused of helping Isaiah Sweet, 17, in the double homicide of Isaiah's grandparents and legal guardians, Richard, 55, and Janet, 62 Sweet, found in their home May 13, with gunshot wounds to the head. Relatives found the bodies when they came over for Mother's Day.
According to a search warrant, Ahlers told investigators he suggested ways to kill the Sweets including using nicotine to cause them to overdose and die, poisoning them with cyanide, cutting their throats and shooting them with an assault rifle.
Ahlers said he showed Isaiah how to load the rifle and discussed the killings throughout the night May 11, according to the search warrant. He also told police he negotiated the sale of the rifle after it was used in the homicide.
Isaiah Sweet was the the first one charged in the homicide in May. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
According to a separate search warrant, Isaiah Sweet admitted to shooting his grandparents and contemplated beating his grandfather with a baseball bat before shooting the couple.
Isaiah Sweet pleaded not guilty and his trial is set Aug. 1, in Delaware County District Court. He remains in jail under a $1 million bond.
Ahlers also remains in the Delaware County Jail under a $500,000 cash only bond.