A Wyoming judge Wednesday sentenced an Australian sheep shearer with ties to New Zealand who stabbed her fiancé to death in February to between 12 and 17 years in prison.
Monique Huia Sullivan, 31, stabbed her fiancé Andrew Moore to death in their camper on a ranch in Lincoln County, Wyoming, Feb. 20, after a drunken argument and months of relational turmoil.
A jury in the Lincoln County District Court in Kemmerer convicted Sullivan of voluntary manslaughter last month, choosing not to convict her of the harsher charge of second-degree murder for which she could have spent life in prison.
Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Sullivan also must pay $7,000 in restitution and $425 in other court costs and fees.
Remorse And Weeping
Sullivan wept during her final, remorseful testimony Wednesday before Lincoln County District Court Judge Joseph Bluemel.
“I couldn’t imagine my life without Andrew,” Sullivan began. “I know I’ve hurt so many people and caused so much pain to his family and friends, and I’m so sorry for that.
“I didn’t want to be the person that did that to them. I’ve caused so much pain and suffering to my family as well. I’m really sorry for that.”
Sullivan said she accepts the jury’s verdict.
“And I’m ready to face the consequences of my actions. Thank you,” she said.
What They Argued
Emphasizing how deliberately Sullivan retrieved a knife that February night in the camper, Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred argued for a term of between 15 and 20 years in prison.
Moore’s family wrote victim impact statements to the court, asking for the maximum sentence for Sullivan.
Her defense attorney, Michael Bennett, asked for a sentence of between eight and 12, or eight and 14 years in prison, but with a split so that Sullivan would spend a short period of time in prison and get out for probation, with the rest of the prison sentence to be imposed only if she failed probation.
Bennett noted that Sullivan has been in the county jail for close to a year, and that’s “hard time.”
The Pros And Cons
Just before he sentenced Sullivan, Bluemel told her it was concerning that not only did she retrieve a knife, but the knife somehow shed its sheath that night.
Another factor the judge calculated aloud was the loss the Moore family has been suffering.
On the other hand, Sullivan has been a “model inmate” in the jail. Her crime involved heavy alcohol consumption and she doesn’t seem likely to commit this crime again, the judge said.
She also struggles with depression and anxiety, he noted.
Because, Everyone Else
Wyoming judges consider multiple factors and goals when sentencing someone. They are supposed to craft a sentence that appropriately punishes, rehabilitates and separates the offender while deterring the offender from committing that crime again, and while deterring the public from committing a crime like it.
Bluemel wasn’t worried about having to deter Sullivan. He indicated that a crime like this usually doesn’t repeat itself in a person’s life.
In this case, Bluemel emphasized the need to deter the public from committing crimes like this one, along with the need to punish and separate Sullivan from society.
Bluemel said he believes immigration authorities will deport Sullivan to Australia, where she is a citizen, as soon as she gets out of prison.
The judge considered whether Sullivan will have the means to pay the $7,000 restitution, but he said she has marketable skills and he believes she can find a way.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.