Wife, Accomplice Accused of Killing Minn. Nat’l Guard Sgt. for Money
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A wife is accused of plotting to kill her husband - a Minnesota National Guard sergeant - with her sister-in-law's fiancé while her husband slept at their St. Paul home.
Heather Leann Horst and Aaron William Allen have been charged in Ramsey County District Court with felony counts of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony. The pair's motive for the killing is the victim's life insurance policy, according to the charges.
Brandon Horst, 25, was killed around 1:11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, after being shot in the head while lying in his bedroom at the couple's home, 468 Bellows Street, the charges said.
Heather Horst's sister-in-law, Brandon Horst's step-sister, later told police what happened, according to the complaints.
The step-sister said that Heather Horst went to her home Sunday, Aug. 4, and told the step-sister and her fiancé, "I want him dead," according to the complaints.
Heather Horst, 24, of St. Paul, said she and her husband had been arguing a lot over the past few days, the charges said. She told Allen that she wanted to make it look like someone broke into their house.
The step-sister, who's identified by initials A.P. in the complaints, later told police that she didn't think Heather Horst was serious. On the night of Aug. 4, Heather Horst picked up Allen from his home around 10:30 p.m. and went to her home where she lived with Brandon Horst.
The step-sister called Heather Horst at 11:55 p.m. to see what she and Allen were doing. Heather Horst left Allen at her home and went to pick up her step-sister, the charges said.
The two women went to Walgreens and then picked up Allen at the end of the block near Horst's home, the complaint said. The three drove to South St. Paul where Allen stopped by Kaposia Park. He left a backpack there, his fiancée told police.
The backpack - which had a handgun inside - was later retrieved by police, the complaints said. Investigators connected the handgun, which belonged to Heather Horst, to the shooting.
Heather Horst told her step-sister that she left the gun for Allen on the dining room table in her house, the complaints said. Allen then waited in the basement for Brandon Horst to fall asleep.
Allen, 25, of South St. Paul, told his fiancée that he took maybe "one or two shots to the head," she told police. Allen heard sirens and ran from the house. That's when he was picked up by Heather Horst and his fiancée.
Text messages were later recovered between Allen and Heather Horst around the time of the shooting, the complaint said. Heather Horst told her step-sister that she had removed the SIM card from her phone and broken it into little pieces so police wouldn't recover the texts.
Heather Horst, who's also known as Schwarz, was arrested Friday, Aug. 9. She refused to answer questions from police.
Allen also was arrested. He told police that Heather Horst was like a sister to him. He said he didn't know why his cellphone was used in the area of Horst's home on the night of the shooting, the complaints said. He then refused to answer questions from police.
The step-sister's other roommate told police that Heather Horst said her husband had a life insurance policy and she was the sole beneficiary, according to the charges. She told Allen and the step-sister that she would give them some money for being supportive and for being family.
Brandon Horst had a $400,000 military life insurance policy and an $80,000 life insurance policy from the federal government for his position as a federal technician, the charges said. Heather Horst was the sole beneficiary for the policies.
Brandon Horst was a staff sergeant with the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Security Force Squadron. Horst worked full-time at the Airlift Wing for nearly two years, said Maj. Ann Todd, spokeswoman for the Wing, in a statement.
He was a member of the Wing for six years and recently re-enlisted for another term, she said. During his initial enlistment, he was deployed to Southwest Asia for about six months.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our Airman's family, friends and coworkers during this difficult time," Todd stated. "The family asks for their privacy to be respected during this time."
Heather Horst appeared in court Monday, Aug. 12, where bail was set at $500,000, and $300,000 with conditions. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 20. The complaint against Horst can be found here.
Allen also appeared in court Monday, where bail was set at $1 million. Allen is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 26. The charges against Allen can be found here.
According to the complaints, Allen has a prior conviction of felony terroristic threats involving fondling a girl as she slept and then threatening her with a knife.
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