ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A South St. Paul man pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Ramsey County Court to the murder of a staff sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard.
According to the Ramsey County Attorney’s office, Aaron William Allen, 26, admitted to shooting 25-year-old Brandon James Horst (pictured) as he was asleep at his St. Paul home on Aug. 5. 2013.
Allen also admitted in Ramsey County Court Wednesday that Horst’s wife, 25-year-old Heather Horst, helped him plan, prep and carry out the murder in exchange for a portion of the victim’s military and federal life insurance policies.
Horst, the sole benefactor, stood to receive $480,000 after her husband’s death.
In his plea deal, the defendant also agreed to testify against Horst, who he claims drove him to the St. Paul home she shared with the victim, insured him that the victim was asleep, drove him away from the crime scene after the shooting and helped dispose of the murder weapon.
In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Horst and Allen were both indicted by a grand jury in Sept. 2013 with premeditated first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in both the first and second degrees.
Allen will be sentenced on April 22, and has agreed to the statutory maximum sentence of 40 years. He has a prior conviction for fondling a sleeping girl, and then threatening her at knifepoint.
Horst has not yet been assigned a trial date.