Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lita McClinton Sullivan Murder Case


Upon their arrival, Sullivan and Lita embarked upon a quest to become part of Palm Beach's social elite. They hobknobbed with many of the city's wealthy residents but were unable to advance to the heights of Palm Beach society as they had hoped. According to MacQuarrie, Lita "quickly discovered that race was also a factor in Palm Beach life, in ways that may have been more understated but no less insidious than in Georgia." In the town known as a playground for the rich and famous, it became clear that money would not buy acceptance.

Sullivan, described by many who knew him as extremely arrogant, became frustrated when he found himself unable to achieve his dream of reaching the pinnacle of Palm Beach. Damned be anyone who stood in his way, especially Lita, whom he allegedly blamed for his inability to climb the social ladder. Before long, he began to distance himself from her emotionally and began a long series of extra-marital affairs with women he met at the parties and benefits he often attended without Lita.

Lita became increasingly aware of her husband's affairs, which pained her greatly because of her love for him. Lita told friends of her devastation when she found in her bed long blonde hairs and women's underwear which didn't belong to her. Despite repeated attempts to make the marriage work, their relationship crumbled.

Realizing that she merely stood in the way of her husband's goals, she fled Palm Beach, returning to the place she loved and the people who meant the most to her. It was then that she filed for divorce. She knew she stood a chance at obtaining some financial security for her future. What she didn't know was how dead set Sullivan was on preventing that.

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