Manchester man pleads guilty to lesser charges in 2012 murders - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Manchester man pleads guilty to lesser charges in 2012 double murder

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Brandon Ahlers Brandon Ahlers
Isaiah Sweet Isaiah Sweet

Brandon Ahlers pleaded guilty to lesser charges on Tuesday in connection with the 2012 deaths of Manchester couple Richard and Janet Sweet.

Ahlers, 20, was facing two counts of aiding and abetting in first-degree murder after being arrested in July of 2012 for his involvement in the double murder.

Isaiah Sweet, 18, was arrested days after his grandparents were found dead in their Manchester home on May 11, 2012.

Delaware County prosecutor John Bernau and Ahlers -- through his attorney, Black Hawk County public defender Aaron Hawbecker -- agreed Ahlers would plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for information on Sweet's alleged involvement in the double murder.

Ahlers submitted Alford guilty pleas to the lesser charges of unauthorized possession of an offensive weapon and third-degree burglary. Both are Class D felonies with a maximum sentence of five years each.

An Alford plea is when a defendant admits enough evidence exists for a jury to find him or her guilty of the charge.

Ahlers also pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact to murder in the first degree, an aggravated misdemeanor, and two counts of attempted burglary in the third degree, a serious misdemeanor.

He also pleaded guilty to violating probation he was serving for a forgery conviction at the time of his arrest in connection to the Sweets' deaths.

Ahlers faces a maximum of 18 years behind bars. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 1 p.m.

Part of the plea agreement was that Ahlers would testify against Sweet. Delaware County prosecutor John Bernau says Sweet's counsel is seeking a change of venue. Bernau said he wants Sweet prosecuted in Delaware County.

Sweet's trial is scheduled for October.

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