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Mom charged in adopted daughter’s murder says she ‘wanted her to go away’

Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 21, 2019

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -- A mother charged in the death of her adopted 14-year-old daughter gave chilling testimony Wednesday in a Pennsylvania courtroom.

Sara Packer took the stand against Jacob Sullivan, 46, smirking as she told jurors that she hated her daughter, Grace, saying "Grace has become, for the lack of a better term, a non-entity. I wanted her to go away."

Jacob Sullivan pleaded guilty last month to raping and then strangling Grace Packer at a home in Bucks County. Sara Packer is expected to plead guilty to multiple charges, including murder, when she is tried after Sullivan, according to The Morning Call.

Sullivan's defense team argued that Packer was the mastermind behind Grace's murder, but Packer claimed otherwise Wednesday, saying she was the one who got swept up in Sullivan's rape-murder fantasy.

Packer told the courtroom their original plan didn't include Grace's murder – the pair initially plotted to imprison Grace in the attic for years so Sullivan could sexually abuse her at any time.

Packer said she thought Sullivan panicked in the hours after he raped the 14-year-old and killed her because he knew "there was no going back."

Investigators say the couple hogtied the girl and placed her in a hot closet for about 12 hours, then gave her what they thought was a lethal dose of sleep medication. When that didn't work, prosecutors say, Sullivan strangled the teen and they buried her body in cat litter, where it remained for months.

Sullivan admitted that they eventually dismembered Grace and dumped her in a wooded area of Luzerne County where hunters discovered the remains on Halloween of 2016.

Now, a jury now must decide if Sullivan deserves the death penalty. Sullivan's sentencing hearing is expected to continue on Friday in Bucks County.