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Manchester teen accused of killing grandparents was carrying drugs, hunting knife Saturday

Trish Mehaffey, CR Gazette –

The Manchester teen accused of killing his grandparents over the weekend had a hunting knife, marijuana and bottles of prescription pills with him when he took his ex-girlfriend and her friends to a party in Iowa City Saturday, according to one of the girls who saw him over the weekend.

Kelli Fisher, 19, of Cedar Rapids, described Isaiah Sweet, 17, as a “weird boy” who seemed to be showing off for her and three other women he drove to a party about 10 p.m. Saturday. This was the first time Fisher had met Sweet, her friend’s ex-boyfriend, and she said she never suspected he would be arrested two days later for murder.

Sweet’s legal guardians — his grandparents, Richard Sweet, 55, and Janet Sweet, 62 — were found dead Sunday in their Manchester home. An autopsy report released Wednesday confirmed the couple died from gunshot wounds. Sweet was charged Tuesday with two counts of first-degree murder.

According to a criminal complaint, one witness told police Sweet said he drugged his grandparents and thought they were dead because he couldn’t feel a pulse on Saturday. Two other witnesses told police Sweet admitted to killing the couple.

“He was very nervous – visibly shaking,” Fisher said. “I think he thought one of the girls with us was pretty. He was showing off because we were all older than him. He was driving fast and we were telling him to slow down.”

Fisher said her friend, Jade Offerman, dated Sweet about four months ago. She knew he was in the area Saturday night and asked him to give them a ride to the party in Iowa City. The truck he was driving was his grandfather’s, she said.

When contacted by a reporter, Offerman declined to comment.

Fisher, who was interviewed by police on Sunday, said at one point during the evening, Sweet showed the women his “new knife.” Fisher said she didn’t know what to make of it.

“It had jagged edges,” Fisher said. “Like a hunting knife, but the blade wasn’t long. He kept in the sun visor. We were like….OK.”

After the party, they went to a convenience store, but only Sweet and another girl got out, Fisher said. When Sweet tried to open the door, the alarm sounded because the store was closed. Police then arrived at the store and questioned the group.

According to Fisher, that’s when police discovered Sweet didn’t have consent to drive the truck and didn’t have a license to drive, but Sweet told officers that Offerman was driving and he was “just checking the mirrors.”

“They knew he was lying,” she said. “We told police there were bottles of pills — hydrocodone and oxycodone — in the truck.”

Another friend came to pick up the girls, but Isaiah was taken to the Iowa City Police Department.

Fisher said something seemed “off” about Sweet, but she didn’t think that much about it until later. He asked if he could stay on one of their couches for the night, and then asked one of the friends if he could stay with her for a week.

“She didn’t really answer him,” Fisher said. “Then I remember him talking about starting the day with $9 and then he pulled out this cash. I saw a $50, but I don’t know what else he had. We asked him how he got the money, but he just kind of shook his head and walked away.”

Fisher said Sweet only mentioned his grandparents once on Saturday, saying he didn’t graduate from high school because his grandmother was always in the hospital. She had leukemia.

“He seemed angry about it,” Fisher said.

Fisher said she wasn’t too concerned about Sweet until she heard police were looking for him on Sunday. She said she went to stay with her parents.

“I was kind of scared when I found out (more information) Monday,” she said.

Sweet remains in the Buchanan County Jail on a $1 million cash-only bond.

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