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Fri, 01.16.1987

Lita McClinton, Black Socialite is Murdered

Lita McClinton Sullivan

On this date in 1987, a Black socialite was murdered. Phillip Anthony Harwood shot the victim, Lita McClinton Sullivan. He was charged with the Atlanta murder in April 1988. Yet it has been suspected that he was hired by McClinton Sullivan’s husband.

James Sullivan (who is white) and McClinton were married in 1976, and lived in Macon's affluent Shirley-Hills neighborhood. After Sullivan sold the liquor business to a Pensacola, FL, company for a reported $5 million in 1983, the Sullivans moved to West Palm Beach, FL. In 1985, Lita Sullivan accused Sullivan of infidelity and moved to their condominium in Atlanta. She filed for divorce, requesting the townhouse and alimony in settlement. Their divorce trial was scheduled to begin Jan. 26, 1987, but she was murdered ten days before the divorce trial.

Sullivan was captured in Thailand in 2002. Fulton County prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty for Harwood, allege that Sullivan paid him $25,000 to kill Lita Sullivan. Her father, 68-year-old Emory McClinton, and his wife, state Rep. Jo Ann McClinton, D-Atlanta, received a phone call in 2004 from the FBI saying Sullivan had been extradited. Sullivan’s was convicted of the murder.

The Associated Press
450 W. 33rd St.,
New York, NY 10001.

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