GUILTY: St. Paul woman plotted husband's death for insurance mon - KMSP-TV

GUILTY: St. Paul woman plotted husband's death for insurance money

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The verdict is in, and a St. Paul woman will now spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury found her guilty of being the mastermind behind her husband's murder.

Prosecutors call Heather Horst a manipulative and deceitful woman who was after less than half a million dollars in life insurance money -- and Horst's family say they are glad justice is now being served.

"There was such an overwhelming sense of relief and beginning of closure that I believe the family and friends can finally feel today," Lt. Col. John Echert said.

After nearly two weeks of testimony, Echert says his prayers have finally been answered because those who killed his friend and fellow National Guard member, Brandon Horst, are being held accountable.

"A death like this of a 25-year-old, young airman -- son, brother, it's something you never completely get over," he said.

It took jurors just 2 hours to find Horst guilty of aiding and abetting first-degree murder after prosecutors argued that she convinced her friend, Aaron Allen, to fire a single shot into her husband's head while he slept in their home in South St. Paul last August for a share of his $500,000 life insurance policy.

Even though Allen testified against Heather Horst, the defense argued that he acted alone to fulfill a murder fantasy -- but jurors didn't buy that either.

"It became clear during, throughout the trial that there was a consistent, credible account that led the jurors to recognize that Heather Horst had callously arranged for the murder of her husband," Echert said.

Brandon Horst was a member of the 133rd Airlift Unit based at Twin Cities International, where he worked with the security forces squadron and was deployed to Saudi Arabia.

Just like his own family, Brandon Horst's military family told the court they felt betrayed by his spouse.

"I would say, in my 20 years as a military chaplain, never ever has a death of a member so tragically impacted the members of the wing," Echert told Fox 9 News.

Now that the trial is over and Heather Horst's sentence delivered, both of Brandon Horsts families can finally begin to find peace.

"In order to have some closure, there is a need for justice," Echert said. "Today, justice was clearly served."

As part of a plea agreement, Allen will spend 40 years in prison for his part in Brandon Horst's death. In the meantime, the 133rd is planning to place a stone with his name on it in an area near the base chapel known as the "Circle of Friends" later this summer.

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