A jury has determined that Jacob Sullivan, who brutally raped and murdered 14-year-old Grace Packer in July 2016, will be sentenced to death for his crimes.
Morning Call reporter Laurie Mason Schroeder, who has been in the Bucks County, Pennsylvania courtroom for the sentencing hearing, posted the verdict on Twitter Thursday morning.
Death for Jacob Sullivan
— LaurieMasonSchroeder (@LehighCourts) March 28, 2019
The reporter also said that Judge Diane Gibbons acknowledged the trauma the jurors must have experienced throughout the grueling testimony, urging them to seek counseling.
“The butchery in this case was beyond my ability to describe. To live through it vicariously through the photos and the tapes and the recordings… must have taken a toll,” the judge reportedly said to to the jurors.
Following a failed suicide attempt in January 2017, Sullivan reportedly confessed to investigators — and a nurse at the hospital where he was recovering — that he had killed Grace Packer along with his girlfriend, Grace’s adoptive mother Sara Packer.
Sullivan’s sentencing hearing continued for nearly two weeks in Bucks County, during which time there were multiple delays regarding witness testimony and rulings over what evidence could be presented to the jury. On Monday, as reported by the Morning Call, a prosecutor presented a dramatic slide show presentation during close statements, showing pictures of Grace Packer next to a countdown clock that represented the two minutes it took Sullivan to strangle Grace to death — after she had been raped, beaten, and stuffed into a sweltering hot cedar closet for roughly 12 hours.
Sara Packer is expected to formally plead guilty after the the conclusion of Sullivan’s sentencing hearing. Packer testified for the prosecution at the hearing, admitting her role in Grace’s rape, torture and murder — and, chillingly, admitting that she wanted her teenage daughter t0 “go away” — but suggested that the murder plot was more Sullivan’s idea than her own, contracting the argument set forth by Sullivan’s defense team.
Packer will be spared the death penalty as part of her plea agreement.