DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A Manchester teenager charged with shooting his custodial grandparents to death sought advice about methods for killing someone only days before the couple's bodies were found, a man already convicted in connection with the killings testified Thursday.
Brandon Ahlers, 21, testified that 18-year-old Isaiah Sweet texted him on May 11, 2012, about how to kill someone, including references to poisoning, beating someone with a baseball bat and using a gun.
Sweet is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his custodial grandparents, 55-year-old Richard Sweet and 62-year-old Janet Sweet. Isaiah Sweet is the biological grandson of Richard Sweet.
Their bodies were found May 13, 2012, in their Manchester home. Isaiah Sweet was arrested the next day.
Several people spoke during the first day of testimony in the trial, but defense attorney Jill Eimermann questioned Ahlers more thoroughly during cross-examination than other witnesses.
Eimermann noted Ahlers had agreed to a plea deal that required him to testify against Isaiah Sweet, and she said Ahler wasn't initially truthful with law enforcement or the defense team.
Ahlers was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the help he gave Sweet in planning the deaths.
“It's to your benefit to testify today,” Eimermann said.
Others who testified included Janet Sweet's daughter, Angela Camlin, who discovered the bodies after arriving at the house to celebrate Mother's Day.
Iowa State Patrol trooper Jon Stickney described the scene of the killing.
“His brain was falling out of his head,” Stickney said of Richard Sweet, who was shot in the head. “You don't forget a sight like that.”
A judge ordered the trial moved to Dubuque County from Delaware County. It will resume this morning.