Lawyer: Political spat led to Livonia slow cooker fight

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Livonia — A Detroit woman was ordered Thursday to stand trial in the killing of her friend beaten with a slow cooker after the two argued about politics.

Tewana Sullivan, 50, who is charged with murder, cried at her preliminary hearing as she heard graphic details about the fatal Oct. 22 assault on Cheryl Livy, 66, with a kitchen appliance.

Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic testified before Livonia District Judge Sean Kavanagh that Livy died of blunt force injuries to her head, face and mid-back.

Livy also had defensive injuries to the back of her hands where it appears she tried to protect herself, Dragovic testified.

Livy was discovered barely breathing with the cord of the "busted" slow cooker around her neck in her apartment around 10:45 p.m. at the McNamara Towers senior housing complex in the 19300 block of Purlingbrook, officer Thomas Blauvelt testified.

Blauvelt said he found "blood all over the walls, all over the floor, all over the victim."

"The Crockpot is busted over her head with the cord around her throat. She was barely breathing," he said.

At the apartment, police testified, they found Sullivan, who appeared disoriented and "under the influence," with blood on her hands and clothing nearby.

Officer Michael Lewallen said Sullivan was saying "I'm sorry. I did it. I'm sorry. I did it. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. She was sobbing. She was crying."

Livy was taken to Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, where she died two days later.

Defense attorney John McWilliams said the two women had argued over "presidential politics."

"Whatever the controversy is between Democrats and Republicans," he said.

McWilliams said his client and Livy had been drinking, but Dragovic testified no alcohol was found in Livy's system. A police officer testified Sullivan appeared drunk when she called police the night Livy was assaulted.

Sullivan was charged with assault with intent to murder in the incident, but those charges were upgraded to first-degree murder after Livy died.

Sullivan is being held in the Wayne County Jail. Her arraignment will be Feb. 12.

Relatives of Livy at Thursday's hearing refused to comment.