Authorities have released the text messages sent just minutes before a New Hampshire mother and her two young children were allegedly shot to death by her teen brother-in-law.
In court papers last week, prosecutors revealed the final words from Kassandra Sweeney to her husband Sean Sweeny, immediately preceding the Aug. 3, 2022, triple murder in Northfield, N.H.
The couple sent Snapchat videos and messages, including of their young sons, Benjamin, 4, and Mason, 2, writing at 10:49 a.m., “I hope they make you laugh.”
This was believed to be her final message to Sean, and less than 10 minutes later she and her sons were both dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.
The details were in a motion filed by the New Hampshire State Attorney’s Office asking that the 17-year-old accused killer, Eric Sweeney, continue to be held without bail, which the judge granted.
The 10-page document revealed more information about the slayings than prosecutors for police have disclosed since Eric was arrested on the day of the crime, while he was still 16.
Eric had been living with his older brother Sean, 26, and his family in their home in Merrimack County, N.H., when tensions began mounting. In June of 2022, Sean reported that his brother had stolen his Honda Civic, and in July he said that his brother was “making strange comments and had hidden multiple weapons around the home.”
He told officers he was “concerned for the safety of his small children,” according to the document. Amid concerns, and with the brothers barely speaking, Sean installed a lock on the door to his master bedroom, and he and his wife began taking steps to have him removed from their home.
However, on Aug. 3, Eric allegedly snapped, removing one of Sean’s two guns, a .40 Taurus handgun, from a locked safe, allegedly gunning down his brother’s family in the kitchen of his three-bedroom home. Kassandra was struck once in her right eyebrow, and both boys were shot in the crown of their heads.
Sean, who drove an oil delivery truck at the time, was on his route when Eric called from Kassandra’s iPhone, claiming that “someone broke in and killed them all.” Sean arrived at the home shortly after police, and Eric returned to the scene behind the wheel of Kassandra’s silver Ford F-150.
Eric claimed to investigators that he was in the basement of the home when he heard something break, before a “deep, male voice yelling followed by multiple ‘pops.’” He alleged that he crept upstairs and “stepped over Kassandra and Mason’s bodies,” and exited the home.
A tree worker, who had been working at the end of the driveway to the home, told police that he heard “what he believed was screaming or yelling of young children,” shortly before he reported seeing Eric leave the property in Kassandra’s F-150. The worker allowed him to exit by removing traffic cones and saw him return in the same truck after police arrived.
Eric allegedly threw the murder weapon from the driver’s side window on I-93 before returning to the home, according to the court filing. He is now being tried as an adult, and facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of falsifying physical evidence.
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