Accused slayer cited Bible story, court is told
By Stephen Hunt
Brian Christopher Sullivan said he saw signs everywhere - in a cloud, a stone, a cat's crooked tail - indicating he had been chosen to usher in Christ's Second Coming.
But like Abraham, who was ordered by God to kill his son, Isaac, Sullivan said his faith would be tested in the same way, according to testimony Wednesday at a preliminary hearing where Sullivan was ordered to stand trial for murder.
The Bible states that God ultimately spared Isaac from Abraham's knife. But, as Sullivan told a West Valley City police officer, "the Lord had not stopped him" from fatally stabbing his wife and daughter.
Sullivan, 32, is charged with two counts of capital murder for the President's Day 2003 slaying of 33-year-old LaRae Marara Sullivan and their 4-year-old daughter, Kehaulani.
A scheduling hearing is set for Feb. 18 before Judge J. Dennis Frederick.
After the slayings, Sullivan washed the bodies and laid them side-by-side in a bed, draping the mother's arm around the girl and placing a stuffed animal beside the child, according to testimony.
Four days later, Sullivan went to the West Jordan home of his older sister, Deborah Hebert, and allegedly confessed to her.
Hebert testified that Sullivan related his entire life story, including his conversion as a young adult to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving a church mission in California, attending Brigham Young University, meeting his wife during a trip to Israel - "and all his spiritual experiences."
She said her brother read the Book of Mormon "obsessively," and claimed he was visited by early church leader Brigham Young.
And he believed he was special in God's eyes because he had survived a bullet wound and had a cat with a broken tail.
Sullivan also related a story about Kermit the Frog to his own trials and tribulations, the sister testified. And he went to Israel to look for the Ark of the Covenant after renting the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
In Israel, at the edge of the Red Sea, Sullivan said he found more evidence he was God's chosen when a raven hovered in front of him and looked him in the eye, Hebert testified.
Hebert acknowledged that some of her brother's notions made some sense. For example, after seeing a cloud that looked like a bison, Sullivan met a person at BYU named Running Bull, she said.
"He was so serious, you went with it," she said.
But there was a more paranoid aspect to Sullivan's actions, such as when he dismantled a Christmas ornament looking for a listening device. He also cut the wires to his furnace and took apart a door knob looking for bugs, Hebert said.
Sullivan was deemed mentally competent after he refused to cooperate with mental health evaluators.
Sullivan, who listened quietly and occasionally jotted notes, wept and wiped his eyes as assistant medical examiner Maureen Frikke described the multiple stab wounds inflicted on his daughter.
The girl was stabbed at least 23 times in the chest. His wife was stabbed at least eight times in the chest. Both had defensive wounds on their hands.