Gunman sentenced to 40 years for killing Guardsman


A South St. Paul man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Tuesday for killing a Minnesota National Guard member in a scheme with the victim’s wife, WCCO reports.

Aaron William Allen, 26, shot Brandon Horst in the head while Horst was sleeping in the couple’s home on Bellows Street in St. Paul on Aug. 5, 2013. Allen pleaded guilty to the murder in March and agreed to testify against the victim's wife in exchange for a lesser sentence. Heather Horst, 25, was convicted of murder in May and sentenced to life in prison.

Allen testified that he shot Brandon Horst because he believed that Horst was abusing Heather Horst. Heather Horst had told friends she wanted her husband dead, and wanted to collect the $480,000 from the victim's life insurance policies.

Allen said Heather Horst had promised him a share of the life insurance money in exchange for killing her husband.

Allen said Heather Horst drove him to the home she and her husband shared, texted him while he was waiting in the basement, drove him away from the crime scene after the shooting and helped him dispose of the murder weapon.

During his court appearance Tuesday, Allen apologized to the victim’s family, according to the Star Tribune.

“I can’t turn back time, but I will use my time in prison to make myself a better person,” he said.

Allen had testified that he was physically, sexually and mentally abused as a child, and witnessed his mother being abused as well.

Brandon Horst's mother, Brenda Horst, said she is still overwhelmed by grief, sorrow and anger over the death of her son, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

"I know I will never find forgiveness in my heart for [Allen]," she said.

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