Sullivan house to be rental property

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cornersville house where a man was fatally shot last year was sold Oct. 30 for just over half of its appraised value.

A local couple added the house to their string of rental properties with a winning bid of $25,500.

A former co-owner of the home, Donnie Sullivan, 53, was sentenced to four years and nine months in March 2010, after a jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter, but is free on bond, pending appeal.

Sullivan's victim, his stepson Timothy Swaw, 41, died shortly after being flown by helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Medical Center on Feb. 15, 2009.

Donnie Sullivan and his wife, Wanda, the mother of the victim, were divorced Oct. 13, 2010. The sale of the house and division of the proceeds were part of the divorce settlement. Wanda suffered "almost unspeakable misery and mental anguish" after the shooting death of her son, according to a document in the divorce file prepared by her attorney, Douglas Thompson Bates IV of Centerville.

At his trial, Sullivan was represented by Donna Hargrove, Bill Harold, and Michael Collins of the Public Defender's Office, and they argued that he acted in self defense.

"This has nothing to do with self defense, and everything to do with anger," Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard said in his closing argument. "This was a senseless, uncalled-for death."

A jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 70 minutes before returning the guilty verdict.

The Public Defender's Office appealed for a new trial immediately after Sullivan was sentenced, but Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler denied that motion a month later. In May 2010, Sullivan's attorneys appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals. According to a staff member at the Sheriff's Office, Sullivan has spent a total of 21 days in jail since the shooting.