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Brooke Walker ReportingA West Valley man accused of stabbing his wife and daughter to death today pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal. Brian Sullivan is charged with two counts of aggravated murder.
Sullivan told police God ordered him to kill his wife and four-year-old daughter back in 2003 as a test of faith, similar to the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. Sullivan will be sentenced on August 26th.
The Sullivan case is just one example. In Utah last year 23 people died as a result of domestic violence. Fifteen of those victims were killed by someone who claimed to love them. Recent comments about domestic violence cases have caused concern that a mixed message is being sent, confusing the action of violence with the feeling of love. Now violence advocacy groups and Lori Hacking's father hope to clear up that confusion and to honor Lori through their efforts.
"This was a killing, in Mark's words, out of love. The only explanation I can give you is he loved her so much, he wanted to take her out of her pain."
Statements like this one made by Mark Hacking's attorney at Hacking's sentencing last month have shocked domestic abuse advocacy groups.
Judy Kasten Bell, UDVC Executive Director: "I was horrified. I thought, how could someone think that killing someone that they love is done out of love?"
Judy Kasten Bell is the director of the Utah Domestic Violence council. Bell and other supporters met today to define domestic violence and to clarify what love really is.
Lori Hacking's father, Eraldo Soares, says looking back to his own situation makes him realize he was ignorant to the abuse.
Eraldo Soares: "She never talked. He always took over the conversation. I thought, oh my gosh they have just been married five years they must be in love."
Although Soares knows he can't save Lori, he hopes to save future victims in her name. Soares plans to promote a bill to increase the minimum penalty for crimes such as the one that took his daughters life.
Eraldo Soares: "I want to spare the people of Utah that pain. If I can push hard, if I can make this law, the future Marks are not going to be there. If we can save one Lori in the future then my work was very successful."
Referred to as Lori's Law, the bill is still in the preliminary stages. Soares hopes to gain more support in the future from lawmakers and from the community.