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Trial starts for Navy veteran accused of killing, then dumping wife in San Diego Bay

matt sullivan.jpg
Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 21:42:22-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The trial of the Navy veteran accused of stabbing his wife, then dumping her body into the San Diego Bay, got underway today at San Diego Superior Court.

Matthew Sullivan sat quietly next to his lawyers, nearly four years after the gruesome discovery of his wife, 32-year-old Elizabeth Sullivan.

"She said, 'Hold on a sec.' And then she said 'I got to go,' quietly, and I didn't hear from her anymore," Calandra Harris said while wiping her tears.

Harris described herself as Elizabeth's best friend. The two met while working together at Hampton University in Virginia. She said the last conversation she ever had with Elizabeth was on the day before she went missing in October 2014.

Despite living on opposite coasts, Harris said she and Elizabeth talked every day. Harris said Elizabeth often consulted her about her tumultuous marriage with her husband. Both husband and wife filed domestic violence charges against each other, and the couple slept in separate rooms in the same Liberty Station home.

So when Elizabeth went missing, Harris said she was worried, especially when she saw Sullivan's new Facebook post.

"I noticed that he posted that he was in a relationship with Kay Taylor," Harris testified.

"And when did you see that?" Deputy District Attorney Jill Lindberg asked.

"Less than 30 days after and Liz was missing," Harris said.

In October 2016, on the same day that Matthew was moving to Maryland with his new girlfriend and children, Elizabeth's decomposed body was discovered floating in the San Diego Bay. At this time, Matthew was not a suspect. But after months of investigating, police found blood underneath the carpet, and a knife hidden in the insulation of the Liberty Station home the couple once shared.

"They can see blood in some of the crevices, down where the blade comes out of the handle and the bolts on the side," Lindberg said while displaying the knife to the jury. "They checked it, and they found Elizabeth's DNA and blood. A tiny bit of the defendant's, mostly the victims."

The defense team agreed that the blood was Elizabeth's. But they said the mother of two, who had infidelity issues and abused drugs and alcohol, hurt herself.

"Elizabeth had broken a mirror," Defense Attorney Marcus DeBose said. "Taking a large shard of glass out of the mirror, she inflicted a deep wound. She was bleeding profusely all over the third-floor bedroom."

Both the prosecution and defense teams will call on additional witnesses starting Monday.