On Thursday, in what seems to be atypical of the modern courtroom, a judge in a ghastly case didn’t mince words about the value of murderer Jacob Sullivan’s existence.
After 11 hours of deliberation, a jury convicted 46-year-old Sullivan of the rape, murder, and dismemberment of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter. What’s more: He committed the act with the help of his girlfriend.
A bit of backstory:
In 2007, David Packer and his wife, Sara, adopted a little girl and her younger brother. They fostered dozens of children before David was sent to prison for sexually assaulting the young girl and a 15-year-old foster daughter.
In 2010, Sara Packer lost her job — as a Northampton County adoptions supervisor. Yet, despite evidence of abuse, authorities declined to remove her adopted daughter from the home.
Sara Packer began dating Jacob Sullivan, and the two contrived a demented plot.
After planning the fantasy fulfillment for weeks, the couple took the girl to a rented house, where Sullivan punched her in the face as Packer watched. He then took Viagra and raped her.
Packer’s daughter was drugged, bound, and gagged, then placed in the hot attic and left to die.
The next day, the pair returned to find she was still alive. Sullivan murdered her by strangulation.
For months, they kept her body in cat litter. Upon being questioned by authorities concerning her whereabouts, they used a bone saw to dismember her.
She was dumped into the woods and later found by hunters.
Judge Diane E. Gibbons had stern words for Sullivan. Referring to his “butchery,” she said there was “nothing redeeming” about him.
“There are no words for what you are, Mr. Sullivan. There are no words for what you did.”
That wasn’t all:
“You have no soul. You are not human.”
Sara Packer — who admitted to jurors she had wanted her daughter dead — is expected to plead guilty to first-degree murder Friday in exchange for a life sentence.
The victim, Grace, was 14.
What makes these monsters? Whatever the answer, a judge in Pennsylvania wasn’t afraid to call evil by its name.
But that wickedness wasn’t recognized when it should’ve been, and an innocent girl is lost forever.
There will be no justice — at least, not on this earth — for Grace Packer. As for the other side of Jacob Sullivan’s sentence, that may be a very different story.
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