Sunday, April 23, 2006

This is Too Much

I couldn’t have said it better than the suspect himself. David Barton Sullivan after being arrested for the murder of Anna Svidersky, 17, in Vancouver, WA on Thursday, had this to say to the police, “This is all evil stuff I have done. This is too much.”

For background on this case, and the victim of this senseless crime, you should read my post Death of Anna Banana.

I had a feeling we would hear more about Mr. Sullivan and already we have. It is pretty clear that he was a time-bomb just waiting to explode. He doesn’t seem to have been able to help himself. As anyone who has had anything to do with the mental health system already knows, it is hard to get help when you need it. There has to be some way to stop this kind of thing from happening, though.

Sullivan was first arrested in 1999 and convicted of two counts of fourth degree assault with sexual motivation. So far I haven’t been able to find much on this conviction, but he couldn’t have spent too much time under supervision, because by 2001 he was back at it.

That year he tried to kidnap a 14-year-old girl from the Naydenov Gymnastics Center in Vancouver. This time the criminal justice/mental health system kept him busy for at least a little while as he spent time at Western State Mental Hospital. He was diagnosed paranoid-schizophrenic and entered a sex-offender treatment program. He pled guilty to Unlawful Imprisonment with sexual motivation and spent 90 days in jail. That 90 day sentence just gets me. Can it really be possible? Yes, it can.

In 2003 Sullivan was back at it, even though he was under community supervision. On June 14, he was spotted at Mountain View High School watching a 15 year-old girl running on the school track. When she left the track, Sullivan chased her, but she was able to get away. She identified Sullivan from a photo line-up of local sex offenders.

A corrections officer overseeing Sullivan’s case wrote on July 1, 2003 that he “has had difficulty adjusting to supervision, in part, because of his mental health disabilities.” His behavior at Mountain View High School "encompasses the same behavior which led to his previous convictions." The officer also noted that Sullivan had a stable living situation, he lived with his parents about a mile from the McDonald’s where Anna Svidersky was killed, and that he had begun mental health and sex offender treatment.

Who knows what David Sullivan has been doing since 2003? The next thing we know about him is that he left his parents house on the evening of April 20, carrying a kitchen knife and with the intention of “hurting a girl.” Police don’t believe that Sullivan knew Svidersky. It just seems to be a case of a pretty young girl in the wrong place at the wrong time and a dangerous man out to cause harm to someone.

Vancouver Police Chief Brian Martinek said, "It's unfortunately part of being a big city. We don't have any magic wall around us here." Do we really need a magic wall to protect us from society’s most violent? Maybe we just need a health care system (mental and physical) that works.

Here is a link to the Vancouver Columbian article.


Blogger Diane said...

I found your blog through Steve Huff's blog, which I read regularly. I've enjoyed your writings and I, too, am fascinated with the seedier aspects of Portland's history.

I look forward to reading more of your work.

7:24 PM  

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