A Pennsylvania jury will determine on life or loss of life for a Pennsylvania man who pleaded responsible within the 2016 rape, homicide and dismemberment of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter.

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Jacob Sullivan, 46, pleaded responsible to all costs final month in a case that raised questions concerning the youngster welfare system’s failure to guard 14-year-old Grace Packer, who spent years in an abusive dwelling earlier than she was sexually violated, drugged after which, lastly, strangled within the attic of a suburban Philadelphia dwelling.

Prosecutors have mentioned that Grace’s adoptive mom, Sara Packer, watched Sullivan act out a rape-murder fantasy they shared. Sara Packer, a former foster mum or dad and county adoptions supervisor, has agreed to plead responsible in change for a life sentence and may very well be known as to testify on the penalty section of Sullivan’s trial, which opens Friday exterior Philadelphia.

Sullivan’s attorneys plan to argue that Sara Packer masterminded the plot in opposition to Grace , and that Sullivan ought to be sentenced to life.

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Packer and her husband on the time, David Packer, adopted Grace and her brother in 2007. The couple cared for dozens of foster kids earlier than David Packer was arrested in 2010 and despatched to jail for sexually assaulting Grace and a 15-year-old foster daughter at their dwelling in Allentown, about an hour north of Philadelphia. Sara Packer misplaced her job as a Northampton County adoptions supervisor in 2010 and was barred from taking in any extra foster kids.

The Pennsylvania Division of Human Providers launched an investigation after Grace Packer’s homicide however its findings haven’t been made public.

Sullivan beat and raped Grace, and she or he was tied up, drugged and left to die in a sweltering attic, authorities have mentioned. Returning the subsequent day and discovering Grace was nonetheless alive, Sullivan strangled her, courtroom paperwork mentioned. The couple saved her physique in cat litter for months, then hacked it up and dumped it in a distant space the place hunters discovered it in October 2016, police have mentioned.

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Sullivan entered his responsible plea as jury choice was about to get underway. The jury that can determine his sentence have to be unanimous with the intention to impose the loss of life penalty; in any other case Sullivan will get life with out parole.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on capital punishment shortly after taking workplace in 2015. Pennsylvania final carried out an execution in 1999.

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