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Family was concerned about homicide suspect’s mental health

Daniel Sullivan Jr. 44
Daniel Sullivan Jr. 44(Portage County Jail)
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 11:02 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 11:41 AM CDT
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AMHERST, Wis. (WSAW) - The 44-year-old Amherst man arrested following his father’s death was formally charged Monday with first-degree intentional homicide, criminal damage to property, and disorderly conduct.

Daniel Sullivan Jr. is behind bars on a $500,000 cash bond.

Court documents detail several events leading up to the death of Daniel Sullivan, 76.

On Oct. 24, Daniel Sullivan Jr. reportedly attempted to strangle a family member. The person shoved Daniel Sullivan Jr. and the struggle ended. Court document state Sullivan Jr. left a voicemail apologizing but said the alleged victim needed to protect himself at all costs from crazy people.

Court documents cite witness statements saying Sullivan Jr. has mental health issues and has been off his medications for several months. During conversations with deputies cited in the criminal complaint, he said he was former military and is disabled due to mental health. Investigators said at no time did Sullivan make homicidal or suicidal comments.

Deputies contacted the family who had concerns about Sullivan’s welfare. His father told deputies his son had made a comment about throwing a sword through a church window. He said his son had a fascination with swords. Area churches were checked, but nothing was discovered. Later, a priest reported finding a sword through the rectory door. Sullivan Jr. was questioned about the incident and said he did it to show the priest he needed to protect himself. He later offered to pay for the damage.

Around noon on Oct. 25, dispatch received a report of an incident on Fountain Grove Road in Amherst. Deputies arrived to find an SUV through the wall of a shed. Court documents state Sullivan Jr. said he intentionally ran over his father and killed him. “He was weak and needed to die,” he reportedly told deputies.

Investigators say Sullivan told a deputy he drove past his parents' house and had wanted to kill his dad with a sword. He continued to drive by but later returned telling hospital staff following the crash he was ‘doing 60 mph’.

Sullivan Jr. did not have an attorney at Monday’s hearing. A judge has given him until Nov. 30 to obtain one.

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