Pa. man gets death for teen’s rape, murder, dismemberment | TribLIVE.com
Pennsylvania

Pa. man gets death for teen’s rape, murder, dismemberment

Associated Press
946013_web1_946013-a494bf468fa449e6acc6074c92a58ae1
AP
This combination of file photos provided on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, by the Bucks County District Attorney shows Sara Packer, left, and Jacob Sullivan. A jury is considering the death penalty or life in prison for Sullivan in the 2016 rape and murder of 14-year-old Grace Packer, while Grace’s mother, Sara Packer, is due to plead guilty, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, to first-degree murder in exchange for a life sentence.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — A man who killed and dismembered his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter as part of a rape-murder fantasy he shared with the teenager’s mother was sentenced to death Thursday.

Jacob Sullivan, 46, had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and related charges for killing Grace Packer in 2016.

After deliberating over parts of three days, a suburban Philadelphia jury imposed the death penalty. Sullivan had no reaction as the verdict was read. Pennsylvania has a moratorium on the death penalty, but juries can still impose the sentence.

“The butchery in this case was beyond my ability to describe,” Bucks County Judge Diane Gibbons told jurors, thanking them for their service.

District Attorney Matthew Weintraub had asked the jury to send Sullivan to death row, reminding them that Grace’s life “ended in a house of horrors that became a hell on Earth.”

The defense asked for a life sentence, insisting that Grace’s mother, Sara Packer, masterminded the gruesome plot and controlled Sullivan. Sara Packer, who testified last week and admitted to jurors she wanted her daughter dead and took part in the plot, is due to plead guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a life sentence.

Sullivan and Sara Packer took Grace to a sweltering attic and gave her what they intended to be a lethal overdose of medicine, authorities say. The couple bound her hands and feet with zip ties and stuffed a ball gag in her mouth, and Sullivan sexually assaulted her as Sara Packer watched.

The couple left Grace in the attic to die, but she managed to escape some of her bindings and spit the gag out, prosecutors say. Sullivan and Sara Packer returned to the vacant house 12 hours later, and Sullivan strangled her.

Sara Packer and Sullivan stored Grace’s body in cat litter for months, then hacked it up and dumped it in a remote area where hunters found it in October 2016, authorities said.

Sara Packer and her husband at the time, David Packer, adopted Grace and Grace’s younger brother in 2007. The couple cared for dozens of foster children before David Packer was sent to prison for sexually assaulting Grace and a 15-year-old foster daughter.

Sara Packer lost her job as a Northampton County adoptions supervisor in 2010 and was barred from taking in any more foster children. But child welfare authorities did not remove Grace from the home, despite evidence of abuse.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services launched an investigation after Grace’s murder, but its findings have not been made public.

Pennsylvania last carried out an execution in 1999, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on capital punishment in 2015. There are 142 inmates on the state’s death row.

Categories: News | Pennsylvania | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.