ATLANTA MILLIONAIRE CHARGED WITH HAVING HIS WIFE KILLED

Published: Sunday, Jan. 12 1992 12:00 a.m. MST

A millionaire has been charged with arranging to have a rose-bearing gunman kill his estranged wife, authorities said.

James Sullivan, 50, faces federal charges of making long-distance telephone calls to arrange for the slaying of his wife, Lita.Lita Sullivan was killed in the foyer of her Atlanta townhouse on Jan. 13, 1987, hours before a scheduled hearing in the couple's divorce.

She and James Sullivan lived at separate addresses in Atlanta at the time. He later moved to Palm Beach, Fla.

Authorities declined Friday to suggest a motive for the slaying. But a federal affidavit in the case has said that James Sullivan was in danger of losing his $3.9 million Palm Beach mansion to foreclosure, and Lita Sullivan had refused to sign a $1 million note to pay off the mortgage.

The indictment announced Friday by U.S. Attorney Joe Whitley focuses on the telephone calls as a way to bring the case under federal jurisdiction. Murder charges are normally prosecuted by states.

One count of the indictment also charges James Sullivan, 50, with causing someone else to use and carry a firearm in violation of federal law.

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