Crime & Courts

Anchorage man sentenced to 75 years for fatal shooting of wife while children were in home

An Anchorage man was sentenced to serve 75 years in prison for fatally shooting his wife in 2017 after they had separated and he had moved in with a girlfriend.

The couple’s two children were home at the time of the shooting and tried to save their mother after calling 911, according to Anchorage District Attorney Brittany Dunlop.

Adam Sullivan, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder after a five-week bench trial, according to the Alaska Department of Law. He was sentenced by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Erin Marston on Aug. 10

Investigators say Sullivan shot 37-year-old Brandy Sullivan multiple times in February 2017 in the Campbell Park home the couple had previously shared.

The Sullivans had separated and Adam Sullivan moved in with his girlfriend but remained jealous of his wife and began stalking her, prosecutors said.

On the day of the shooting, they said, he followed her inside and assaulted her, causing blunt force injuries to her head and arm before shooting her once in the head and three times in the back.

Their 13-year-old daughter called 911 to report her mother had been shot, according to prior reports. An 11-year-old was also in the home. Both were unharmed physically.

Dunlop said 911 operators directed them to hold a rag to their mother’s wounds and begin chest compressions while they awaited first responders. Brandy Sullivan died at the home.

After the shooting, Adam Sullivan fled and told his brother and girlfriend that he had shot Brandy Sullivan. He was arrested later that day with two .380 handguns and a partial box of ammunition still on him.

Adam Sullivan was initially charged with both first- and second-degree murder, but Dunlop said the first-degree charge was dropped as part of an agreement to hold the trial without a jury and only in front of a judge. The pandemic had largely halted long jury trials because of the risk that a juror would contract COVID-19 and spread it to others. With bench trials there is less exposure in the courtroom, which made it more certain that the trial could proceed, she said.

“It was important to get closure for the family so people can move on without the court case looming over their heads,” Dunlop said. “It’s been a long time ... particularly in the life of teenagers.”

Phillip Weidner, Adam Sullivan’s attorney, said they are disappointed in the verdict and sentence. He said evidence presented at trial showed “there was a mutual nonlethal struggle and Mr. Sullivan was struck with an aluminum crutch in the head and suffered a traumatic brain injury before any shots were discharged.”

Marston sentenced Adam Sullivan to 75 years because a number of circumstances made the crime “particularly heinous,” Dunlop said. The minimum sentence for second-degree murder is 15 years.

During the sentencing hearing, Marston “described the murder as a planned execution by a very dangerous person,” according to prosecutors. “He noted the murder was especially outrageous because Adam and Brandy Sullivan’s two children were at the house at the time of the murder. He questioned how Adam Sullivan could leave his children, alone, at the house as they tried to save their dying mother.”

Adam Sullivan plans to file an appeal, his attorney said.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

Sponsored