Lita McClinton

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Lita LaVaughn McClinton (1952 – January 16, 1987), the daughter of Emory McClinton, a former U. S. Department of Transportation official and his wife, JoAnn McClinton, a Georgia state representative, was murdered the day her divorce was to be settled, shot when receiving a box of pink roses at her doorstep. In 1997, Phillip Anthony Harwood was identified as the hit man and indicated that he had committed the murder for $25,000 at the behest of James Sullivan, the former husband of Lita McClinton, who had been in Palm Beach, Florida, during the shooting in Atlanta, Georgia. Sullivan escaped arrest by fleeing abroad. On July 2, 2002, he was arrested in Thailand, and in 2004, he was extradited to Atlanta. In March 2006, Sullivan was convicted of murder for arranging the 1987 shooting of his wife and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, in a Georgia prison. The case was profiled on Unsolved Mysteries in 2001, the year before James Sullivan was arrested.


  • Marion Collins. The Palm Beach Murder (St. Martin's True Crime Library). Mass Market Paperback. ISBN 0-312-99086-3
  • Debra Miller Landau. "Social Disgraces" (Atlanta Magazine, October 2004).
  • Marvin Marable. "Deadly Roses - The Twenty Year Curse" (GCCI). ISBN 978-1-4392-5747-0. Available at

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