VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) — Breanna Sullivan was acquitted of a voluntary manslaughter charge this week, more than a year after shooting her husband dead in front of her daughter.
She sat down only with 13News Now to discuss the feeling she calls relieving, but not one of joy.
"Everyone's like 'You're free, you're out of jail. You got a happy ending,’” said Sullivan. “This isn't a happy ending, this is the best possible outcome."
Sullivan looked back on the time where she felt threatened by her husband that night in July at her Virginia Beach apartment. She said she acted in self-defense when Antonio Sullivan raised his fist at her and threatened to kill her. This came after years of abuse and taking out charges that she later dropped.
"It wasn't my choice. There was no reason to doubt that he would be willing to take it this far this time and I hate that it happened, but I made the choice that I had to make to make sure that I'd be around for my daughter,” said Sullivan. "He was my first love. I'd known him since I was sixteen. I loved him but sometimes that's not enough."
Throughout the court process, Sullivan said she felt like giving up and serving a sentence. She said she endured multiple death threats from the public and criticism when she was let out on bond.
Her daughter kept her motivated to see justice through to the end. The mother and daughter now attend regular therapy sessions together.
"Every single thing I did was for her,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan said she hopes to use her story as an avenue for other struggling women to seek out help.
"I know how hard it is to drag yourself out of that mentally because I couldn't do it, but I wish other women could understand how strong they really are because my story is rare,” explained Sullivan. "Most women in my situation wouldn't be alive today and even the ones who are, many of them aren't as fortunate enough to have a judge that saw the truth."
Sullivan said she hopes to do advocacy work with other domestic violence suffers, but for now, she said healing is the focus.
For more information on resources for domestic violence survivors, click here.