Former Police Officer and Serial Killer Anthony Sully Dies on Death Row

Anthony Sully, a former police officer who became a serial killer in the 1980s, died of natural causes on Friday at a medical facility outside the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center, where he had been on death row for more than 35 years.

Sully, 79, was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986 for the brutal murders of six people in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1983. His victims were Kathryn Barrett, 24; Barbara Searcy, 22; Gloria Jean Fravel, 24; Brendan Oakden, 19; Michael Thomas, 24; and Phyllis Melendez, 20.

Sully was born in San Francisco and grew up in Millbrae, where he served on the police force from 1966 to 1974. He later became an electrical contractor and rented a hangar for his business in Burlingame, which became the scene of many of his crimes. He also invested in an escort service, used the service of s*x workers, and became addicted to freebasing cocaine. Some of his victims were s*x workers.

The California Department of Corrections reported on Friday that a Bay Area serial killer who was incarcerated on death row at the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center had passed away naturally:

Sully beat, tortured, and raped Fravel before killing her with an ax. Barrett was stabbed six times and then hit over the head with a sledgehammer. Many of his other victims were shot in the back of their heads as they entered his hangar. Some of his victims were placed n*de in metal drums filled with concrete, which he dumped in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Detectives found his fingerprints on some of the bodies.

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As a defendant, Sully pleaded not guilty. He maintained at his sentencing that he did not get a fair trial, telling the judge, “I am not a monster, not a maniac, not subhuman,” according to news accounts at the time. He most recently lost an appeal to his case in 2013.

Sully was pronounced dead at 2:21 a.m. at an outside medical facility. The Marin County Coroner will determine his exact cause of death. California placed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2019.

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