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Pennsylvania man given the death penalty for rape, murder of teen; judge says “you have no soul”

After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury imposed the death penalty against 46-year-old Jacob Sullivan after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for 2016, the killing of Grace Packer.
(Buck’s County District Attorney’s Office)

Pennsylvania judge called a man soulless and inhuman, after sentencing him to death on Thursday for the rape, murder and mutilation of his girlfriend’s adopted daughter.

After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury imposed the death penalty against 46-year-old Jacob Sullivan after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for 2016, the killing of Grace Packer.

Bucks County Judge Diane E. Gibbons had harsh words for the man she called inhumane, adding that she had no words for “butcher” involved in the murder.

“You have no soul,” she said. “You’re not a man.”

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Prosecutors said that Sullivan and Sara Packer, the Grace of the adoptive mother, a planned rape-murder fantasy for weeks before taking her to a rented home in Abington, where they attacked her in July 2016.

Sara Packer, and Jacob Sullivan. (Bucks County District Attorney via AP, File)

Sullivan allegedly struck the 14-year-old girl in the face as her mother looked on, philly.com reported. Then he took Viagra and raped her – with Packer look back on.

Grace was bound, gagged, and drugged, and left to die in the hot attic, but when the couple returned the next day, she found that she was still alive and broke loose.

Sullivan then strangled Grace to the death.

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The couple saved Grace’s body in the litter box for months to mask the stench of the dead body, but when the authorities came to question them about her whereabouts in October, Sullivan and Packer dismembered the body using a bone saw to deposit in a remote area where it was later found by hunters.

“There are no words for what you are, Mr. Sullivan. There are no words for what you’ve done,” Gibbons said after calling him a coward with “nothing redeeming” about him.

Sullivan joins 142 other prisoners on the condition of the death row. Pennsylvania last performed an execution in 1999, and the Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on the death penalty in 2015.

Packer is expected to plead guilty Friday to first-degree murder in exchange for life in prison. This after they testified last week, and admitted to the judges she wanted her daughter dead and took part in the plot.

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

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

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services started an investigation after the Grace of the murder, but the findings are not made public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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