victim's families

The families of Juan Ramirez and Brendan Cole, who were murdered by Tre Zwieg, pose Friday for a photo outside of the Allen County Courthouse while awaiting the verdict in Zwieg's trial. 

Shouts of joy and anguish could be heard outside of the Allen County Courthouse on Friday night when a small group of Brendan Cole and Juan Ramirez Jr.’s family came out to share the news: their sons’ killer was found guilty.

The jury came back with a guilty verdict for Tre Zwieg, 21, on all six charges connected to the 2021 double homicide that claimed the life of Ramirez, 16, and Cole, 19.

Zwieg now faces a 190-year prison sentence for two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, burglary and a sentencing enhancement for using a gun while committing the crime. The murder and felony murder charges will be merged at sentencing and will carry a possible sentence of 65 years in prison for each death.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 13.

Ramirez’s mother, Shelly Ramirez, said she felt mixed emotions when she heard the verdict. Ramirez said she was satisfied knowing her son’s killer would be held responsible. But she is still mourning the life of her “sunshine” – a son who was full of light and energy and always had a smile on his face.

“How can I feel happy when I’ll never see my son again?” she asked.

Shelly Ramirez and her family were supposed to be planning for her son’s prom, graduation and other future life events.

“But we had to prepare for a trial,” she said. “Sixteen years wasn’t long enough.”

Zwieg was arrested after Juan Ramirez Jr. and Cole were found dead in a home on Cumberland Avenue on Dec. 3, 2021. Court documents suggest the three teens were trying to burglarize the home when Zwieg shot Ramirez and Cole.

Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tom Chaille accused Zwieg during opening arguments of luring the others to the crime scene with the intent of killing them.

During the first day of the trial, Shelly Ramirez and Cole’s sister gave tear-filled testimonies about the day they found out their loved ones were murdered. Both women said they had never heard of Zwieg before he was a suspect in the murders.

Juan Ramirez Jr. and Cole were raised as cousins because of close family ties.

Deputy Prosecutors Tesa Helge and Chaille questioned a witness who knew intimate details of the day of the murders – a man Zwieg met in jail and allegedly told about the fatal shooting.

Zweig’s defense attorney, Gregory Fumarolo, said during opening statements Tuesday the witness was a “jailhouse snitch.”

The witness testified he met Zwieg when the two men were being held in the Allen County Jail and became acquaintances. During that time, the man said he heard both directly from Zwieg and overheard Zwieg confess to shooting one of the victims multiple times and using multiple guns.

“Nobody wants to be a snitch,” the witness said, but “if something happened to someone in my family, I would hope someone would come forward if they knew something.”

He added that Zwieg seemed emotionless when talking about the murders.

“If he felt bad, I couldn’t tell,” the witness said.