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Bitterroot woman mourns murdered grandson, accused appear in court

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Feb 26 2014 08:04:44 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 26 2014 08:47:54 PM MST

Robert L. Thaut died from a beating death in his home last month.

Richard and Candace Sullivan are accused in the crime.

RAVALLI COUNTY -

A husband and wife appeared in Ravalli County Justice Court on murder charges in the beating death of a young man at his home in Hamilton last month.

Twenty-five-year-old Richard Sullivan and 28-year-old Candace Sullivan arrived in court with their heads down.

They came before Justice Robin Clute, accused in the murder of Robert L. Thaut on January 28.

Richard Michael Sullivan is charged with deliberate homicide. Candace Elizabeth Sullivan is charged with accountability for deliberate homicide. Bail for both was set at $200,000.

Court records said Robert Thaut had been stomped to death, dying of blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

The court report said Richard Sullivan became enraged when Thaut smelled his wife's hair.

Thaut also suffered facial injuries, including a broken nose. Records said had the young man received prompt medical attention doctors could probably have saved his life.

Thaut's grandmother, Judy Mendoza, said her grandson struggled with a form of autism that can cause social impairments and inability to read social cues.

She said her grandson loved walking in the woods. He had a fascination with walking sticks, and liked to decorate them with articles he found in nature, like antlers. She said he liked for his grandmother to take pictures in the outdoors.

Mendoza said Thaut had a hard time making friends, and thought that the Sullivans were his friends.

The accused couple await trial on charges and possession of methamphetamines. They will be arraigned in district court in three weeks.

Click the following links to read the charging documents against Richard Sullivan and Candace Sullivan.