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Associated Press, Published August 12 2013

Wife, friend charged in Minnesota Guardsman's slaying

ST. PAUL — The widow of a slain Minnesota Air National Guard member was charged Monday along with another man in her husband's killing.

Ramsey County prosecutors charged Heather Horst, 24, of St. Paul, with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony in the shooting death of Staff Sgt. Brandon Horst.

Also charged is Aaron Allen, 25, of South St. Paul. Allen is engaged to Brandon Horst's stepsister and is a friend of Heather Horst.

According to charges, Heather Horst called 911 early on Aug. 5 to report her husband was in bed with blood coming from his head. Authorities found Brandon Horst, 25, in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to his head. A 9 mm casing was found on the bed.

Heather Horst told police she and her husband had been arguing for days about his idea of having an open relationship, the Star Tribune reported. After Brandon Horst returned home from work at 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 4, his wife left and picked up her husband's stepsister. After the women arrived back at the house, Heather Horst told police she went upstairs to "crawl into bed" with her husband when she noticed a large amount of blood around his head.

Brandon Horst's stepsister told police that Heather Horst told her that Brandon Horst killed himself because of their earlier argument. She also told police that Heather Horst found out she was pregnant about two weeks before and was not happy about it.

Officers searched the garbage-strewn home but found no signs that it had been ransacked. Heather Horst said there was a pistol in the home inside a wine cabinet, but when she led police there, it was missing.

Heather Horst told police her marriage was tumultuous and that her husband had assaulted her in the past. She denied being involved in her husband's killing.

Police recovered five text messages between Heather Horst and Allen that had been made early on Aug. 5 and then deleted from her phone.

Officers spoke to a roommate who lives with Allen and his fiancee who said Heather Horst came to their apartment on Aug. 4 upset over having lost her baby. The roommate later heard Heather Horst say her husband abused her and the only way she could be free from him was if he were dead.

Allen's fiancee later told police that Heather Horst came to her and Allen's apartment and said, "I want him dead." She explained that they had been arguing a lot over the past few days. Heather Horst told Allen that she wanted to make it look like someone broke into the house.

Heather Horst was the sole beneficiary of an $800,000 military life insurance policy that Brandon Horst held. He had another policy worth $80,000 from his job as a federal technician, with his wife also as sole beneficiary, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Around 10:30 p.m., Heather Horst picked up Allen and went to the Horst home, Allen's fiancee told police. Heather Horst left Allen at her home and drove to pick up his fiancee at her apartment. After they left a Walgreens, the two women went to the Horst home and Heather Horst told her that they had to pick Allen up at the end of the block. They found Allen standing a block away from the home with a black backpack, which he dropped off at Kaposia Park in South St. Paul. Police later found a 9 mm handgun inside the backpack.

Bail for Heather Horst was set at $500,000 Monday. Allen's bail was set at $1 million. Both remained in jail.

Online court records do not list an attorney for Horst. A phone message left for Allen's public defender after business hours was not immediately returned Monday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.