Bitterroot Murder Victim Had Autism - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Bitterroot Murder Victim Had Autism

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We have new details on a man who was murdered in his Hamilton home in January. ABC FOX MONTANA spoke with 25-year-old Robert Thaut's grandmother, who said he had Asperger's syndrome, and considered the couple charged in his death friends.

It was an emotional day in court as husband and wife, 25-year-old Richard Sullivan and 28-year-old Candace Sullivan appeared, after being charged in the beating death of 25-year-old Robert L. Thaut, who was found dead in his home last month. 

"Officers responded to a report of assault at his home, and when they got there, the Sullivan's were at the residence," Hamilton Police of Chief Ryan Oster.

Thaut's grandmother, Judith Mendoza, paid rent at his home. She said Thaut had Asperger's syndrome and had a hard time making friends. He had finally found two in the Sullivans.

"I can tell you the Sullivans and Mr. Thaut were acquaintances, that they did spend a significant amount of time together," Oster said.

Things went bad the night of January 28. Court documents show the three friends were drinking, and a fight broke out, leading to Thaut's death.

"They were taken into custody at that point, interviewed that evening, and a few days later interviewed again," Oster said.

According to court documents, the Sullivan's story changed numerous times. In the first story, Candace claimed while Richard was sleeping in the car, she got mad at Thaut, and pushed him over a chair and he became unresponsive. Court documents through their investigation,  police finally discovered that Richard stomped Thaut to death, and it was hours before the couple called 911.

"The investigation is still ongoing. We have submitted a large amount of evidence to crime lab, and we're waiting for that to be processed," Oster said.

Documents indicate Thaut's grandmother brought him medication earlier that night. In court she told ABC FOX MONTANA the couple lived out of their car with their child, and used Thaut for his home and medication.

The couple will be back in court in late March. Richard Sullivan's father didn't want to speak on camera, but said he wants Thaut's family to know he is sorry for what his son allegedly did.


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