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Murder Trial Witness Pleas to Lesser Charges

Updated: Tuesday, July 16 2013, 09:02 PM CDT
MANCHESTER, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Pleading to lesser felony charges means Brandon Ahlers won't face a jury, and won't face the possibly of life in prison.

"Going to trial would mean risking my life and with two children that's not something I'm willing to do," said the 20-year-old Ahlers.
 
"Justice has been served, it will be more served after sentencing," said Delaware County Attorney John Bernau.
 
Ahlers was facing a first degree murder charge for aiding and abetting Isaiah Sweet before and after Sweet allegedly killed his grandparents 17 months ago. Now Bernau says Ahlers can be very valuable as a witness. That's because he and Sweet talked about killing the couple before and after the crime.
 
"That was part of the agreement, that he will provide a full, honest, accurate accounting of what happened," said Bernau.
 
The felony charges have to do with his handling of the allegedly used to kill Richard and Janet Sweet, and of stealing some of their property. He also pled to misdemeanor charges of attempted burglary for two of the Sweet's vehicles and accessory after the fact.

"Mr. Ahlers has some information that is critical to our cast against Mr. Sweet. Mr. Ahlers has agreed to assist us in our prosecution of Isaiah," said Bernau.

The lesser charges provide a key witness against Sweet, but also satisfies the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Sweet's family.
 
"The family member that was here was intimately involved in those discussions," said Bernau. "We were in meetings face to face with her, with DCI and everybody's on board."

Ahlers is expected to start providing that testimony against Isaiah sweet in about two weeks. He'll be sentenced, up to 18 years, in late September. Meanwhile, Sweet's trial is set to begin October 16. He's still trying to move that trial out of Delaware County so that date could be delayed again.
Murder Trial Witness Pleas to Lesser Charges


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