Jury deliberating if Jacob Sullivan should get death penalty or life without parole

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The fate of the 46-year-old Horsham man who pleaded guilty to killing 14-year-old Grace Packer is now in the hands of a jury as they’ll decide if he should get the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole. 

Defense attorney Jack Fagan argued the jury should look at Jacob Sullivan’s entire life with no criminal record and no history of violence, as they choose whether he should get death row or life without parole.

Fagan says they should give significant weight to Sullivan’s confession. He argues that confession led directly to the arrest of his co-defendant and Grace Packer’s adoptive mother, Sara Packer, and without it, she likely would not have pleaded guilty. 

Fagan also says the jury should consider how Sara Packer manipulated Sullivan. He told them Packer wanted her daughter dead, and she used Sullivan’s fantasy to get him to take part in the murder. 

Related: Sara Packer testifies in sentencing of Jacob Sullivan

But Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub told jurors all those arguments from the defense are like feathers on a scale against the boulder that prosecutors have against Sullivan. 

He reminded jurors of a question he had asked at the beginning, “What is the worst thing you can conceive of doing to a child?” and told them they know the answer.

Weintraub argued Sullivan’s confession was for his own benefit, to get the crushing weight off his chest after his attempt to kill himself.

He closed his argument by saying Sullivan was supposed to be a father figure, responsible for nurturing the 14-year-old, but instead he murdered her purely for his own pleasure.

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