Manchester double murder trial: Sweet admitted to killings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Manchester double murder trial: Sweet admitted to killings

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Opening statements in the double Manchester murder trial of Isaiah Sweet on Thursday revealed Sweet admitted to killing his grandparents.

Both prosecuting and defense attorneys say this happened while Sweet gave a video-recorded interview upon his apprehension in May of 2012.

18-year-old Isaiah Sweet is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the May 2012 shooting deaths of his grandparents, Manchester couple Rick and Janet Sweet.

Sweet was 17 at the time and has pleaded not guilty.

According to defense attorney Jill Eimermann during opening statements Thursday, this trial is not a matter of figuring out who committed the killings, but a matter of determining the correct level of responsibility to which Sweet should be held.

Although Sweet admitted to the murders, his attorneys say, they believe the evidence will show two counts of first-degree murder are too extreme.

In the prosecution's opening statement, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins said the state believes evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact Sweet planned and then executed his grandparents' murders.

The first witness the state called was Janet Sweet's daughter, Angie Camlin. It was Camlin's daughter who discovered the Sweets' bodies on Mother's Day of 2012, when family members arrived at the couple's home for a celebration.

Camlin cried as she described the emotional state her daughter was in after coming upon the bloody scene of her grandparents shot dead on their couch.

The state then called a state trooper, who initially responded to the Manchester home on Mother's Day. The state submitted as evidence and then showed jurors photos of the Sweets' home that day, as well as a photo of the Sweets themselves, as the trooper found them shot dead on their couch.

The state also called Sweet's accomplice, Brandon Ahlers, to testify against Sweet. Ahlers is serving prison time for his role in the Sweets' death. Prosecutors initially charged him with two counts of aiding and abetting in first degree murder but lessened those charges in a plea deal, where Ahlers agreed to testify against Sweet.

Ahlers has been convicted of helping Sweet plan for the murders and then help conceal evidence afterward, such as a gun.

Timmins asked Ahlers about texts he had exchanged with Sweet on May 11, the day of the killings, regarding how to kill the grandparents. Ahlers said ideas ranged from poisoning and bludgeoning with a baseball bat to shooting with a gun.

After Rick and Janet Sweets' death, Ahlers said Sweet gave him two guns and the Sweets' flat screen TV. Ahlers also said Sweet asked him the best way to get out of town, that Sweet wanted to go to Cedar Rapids. Eimermann asked Ahlers whether it struck him as strange that Sweet, who'd lived in Manchester for a number of years, had to ask for directions out of town. Eimermann also said in the defense's opening statement that Sweet was hungry and tired during the video interview in which he admitted to killing his grandparents, that he described a dazed-like feeling when he did it.

Since Sweet has admitted to the killings, the state's burden is to prove motive, using evidence to show the murders were premeditated.

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