FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) —An Allen County jury found a man accused of a double homicide in December 2021 guilty on all counts.

Tre Zwieg, 19 on Dec. 2, 2021 when Brendan Cole, 19, and Juan Ramirez, 16 were shot to death, was found guilty on two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder and burglary. The jury then convicted him of using a firearm in the commission of a crime that could add another 20 years to his sentence.

The cousins were found shot to death inside a detached garage at 740 Cumberland Avenue about 200 yards from 912 Ridgewood Ave. where Zwieg shared apartment 16 with the two victims and Jason Daltoso, the renter.

Tom Chaille, Allen County chief deputy prosecutor, led jurors through the timeline of events, tying Zwieg to the crime at every step. The shootings were part of a set-up to look like a burglary at the nearby house Zwieg, Cole and Ramirez thought was abandoned. Witnesses said Zwieg wanted to steal some chains and the three went there to break in. All were wearing ski masks, he said.

At the crime scene, there were no guns found on the victims, detectives said.

‘They fell where they were shot…. he circled their bodies firing shot after shot’

“They fell where they were shot,” Chaille said. “They didn’t have a chance to fight back. They didn’t have a chance to defend themselves. They were betrayed, ambushed and executed.” Once they fell, Zwieg circled their bodies “firing shot after shot after shot.

“It was personal. It was brutal. That’s why we’re here.”

Zwieg and the two victims knew each other through Zwieg’s on and off girlfriend, Kaydence Beachy, who also worked at the same northside restaurant as the others. They became friends and gun enthusiasts. They wore ski masks as part of their fashion and apparently stole guns that popped up in photos and videos that Zwieg had on his phone and laptop.

His mother, Brittany Helmke, helped set up the photo and video sharing file and testified to the jury that she became “appalled” when she saw videos of her son waving a gun around, pointing the barrel at the camera and rapping.

Stolen gun found in the St. Joe river forensically tied to crime scene cartridges as one of the murder weapons.

Forensics experts were able to tie a Sig Sauer P365 XL directly to a digital file and a reported Sig Sauer 320 stolen from a friend. The experts matched cartridges found among the 20 cartridges surrounding the two victims’ bodies. The P365 had unusual scratches on it that lead detective Lucas “Luke” MacDonald was able to match up.

The gun was also, by a stroke of luck, found a year ago by magnet fisher Stephen Meyer in the St. Joe River and turned in to police.

Left to right: Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille, Chief Counsel Tesa Helge and lead detective Lucas MacDonald.

Chaille estimated the prosecution brought about 25 witnesses to the stand and there were many pieces of the puzzle put together in closing arguments.

It was up to defense attorney, Gregory Fumarolo, and his paralegal, son Tony Fumarolo, to put enough holes in the state’s case to lead jurors in another direction.

After 9 p.m. on Dec. 2, Beachy, now 19, picked Zwieg up from work at the restaurant and drove him to Helmke’s mobile home on Starboard Drive. They stayed for about 15 minutes before she took him back to the Ridgewood Drive apartment to change his clothes. He left his cell phone at his mother’s ostensibly to charge it, but prosecutors said he left it there to throw police off his track and that it was part of a premeditated plan.

Witnesses said Zwieg believed Cole threatened one of his younger brothers. Beachy said Zwieg thought Daltoso and Cole were plotting against him and Zwieg said Cole had cheated him in some business dealings.

The crucial hour Dec. 2, 2021 – 9:45 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.

The hour between 9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. was crucial, according to prosecutors.

After dropping Zwieg off at his apartment, Beachy picked up her friend, Aubrie Gasaway, and the two of them drove around the area. Gasaway thought they were out for maybe 40 minutes, compared to Beachy’s estimate of 20 minutes to a half hour. Gasaway took a photo of them at 10:16 p.m., the same time Brendan talked to a girl. That was his last call.

The prosecution said between 10:16 when it was determined that Cole and Ramirez were still at the apartment and 10:45 p.m. the three of them went to the garage to steal some chains. And there were chains in the garage as evidenced by crime scene photos.

After dropping Gasaway back at her apartment, Beachy sat in her car close to Zwieg’s apartment. At that same time, she saw running past her a figure clad in dark clothing and wearing a ski mask, the preferred style for the three friends. The man running appeared to be Zwieg, she testified.

Brenda Cole (left) and Juan Ramirez

Beachy also said she heard one gun shot, but a neighbor called at 10:46 p.m. to report two bursts of five shots. The two boys were killed with double that amount.

Lead detective Lucas MacDonald said reports of gun shots vary and people remember differently which could explain why Beachy heard one shot and the neighbor heard ten.

Fumarolo said that wasn’t credible.

There was a plan for Beachy to take Zwieg back to his mother’s trailer on Starboard Drive, but she didn’t. Daltoso, who left to pick up out of town friends at the Indianapolis airport, had asked everyone to find another place to stay that night.

Cell phone left at mom’s on purpose, prosecutors say

By 11:04 p.m. Zwieg was back at apartment 16 on his laptop calling unknown people on Facebook messenger, creating another Gmail account under a different name and Googling how to make phone calls from his laptop.

Prosecutors said there was no need to leave his cell phone at his mother’s house: it was charged enough for him to take photos of himself and his younger brothers. Beachy also had a charger in her car. Helmke said she became aware that her son’s phone was in a bedroom because it started making notifications around midnight. At 1:34, she sent a text to Kaydence to say she was going to bed.

But at 3:30 a.m., Zwieg apparently woke up and called his mother via the lap top. She left to pick him up and take him to her home.

Helmke’s testimony didn’t veer from the prosecutor’s. Perhaps it cleared up her relationship with her son, 19 at the time, and his two younger brothers, which seemed to be a regular family relationship. Zwieg attended Snider High School for three years until he transferred to Northrop for his senior year because the family moved, he said in a police interview shown Friday.  

On the taped interview with homicide detectives MacDonald and Brian Martin, there was a lot of chatting as Martin worked up to what he and MacDonald really wanted to talk about.

Defendant said Brendan was back home even though he knew he was dead, prosecutor said

Brendan “was back at his crib,” Zwieg told them, because they had to stay away from the apartment. This being Saturday after the Thursday evening shooting, Zwieg said he hadn’t talked to Brendan, even though there were a good 300 text messages between the two prior to Brendan’s death. Zwieg said he returned to the apartment Saturday around 5 p.m. and said he hadn’t talked to Brendan or Juan.

“I have no guns,” he told Martin and he didn’t know if Brendan had any guns, although detectives found guns in the apartment along with ammunition and magazines. Then Martin mentioned a search warrant on the apartment.

“What if I told you that you did something to a couple of people,” Martin asked. “What if I told you there’s a reason why we haven’t talked to (Brendan and Juan).”

There were more questions about guns and whose belongings were in apartment 16.

‘What if I told you…….’ detective Brian Martin

“What if I told you Juan was dead?” Uncharacteristically, there was a long silence. Then, “what if I told you Brendan was dead?”

Still no response, Martin filled in the silence. He called Zwieg a “hurting dude” and advised him to “let it out.”

“You know you’re not getting a hold of those guys because you know they’re gone. You know there’s an explanation for that.” He told Zwieg he wasn’t a monster but as a detective, he didn’t know any of the “in-between.”

Five days later, police had enough evidence to arrest Zwieg in Indianapolis where he’d gone with Daltoso who’d rented an Airbnb.

He’s been at the Allen County Jail since. Reportedly emotionless as the guilty verdict was read, Zwieg will face the family on June 13 at his sentencing.