Deb Miller Landau in conversation with Lisa Rayam

Author of A Devil Went Down to Georgia: Race, power, privilege, and the murder of Lita McClinton

Author Talks
Monday, Aug 12 @ 7pm

Not-yet-members. $10.

Members. $5.

Insiders. Free.

Woodruff Auditorium is located inside McElreath Hall. Doors and cash bar will open at 6pm.


The 1987 brutal murder of Lita McClinton Sullivan shook Atlanta to its core. A Black socialite from a politically powerful Atlanta family, gunned down in broad daylight just around the corner from the Atlanta History Center. The shooter, who delivered a dozen pink roses, vanished into the cold winter day. Lita’s husband, James Sullivan, always a prime suspect, slipped by on his solid alibi and unwavering conviction that he had nothing do with it. For a decade, the case went cold, unnervingly frigid. Journalists followed it for years, lawyers didn’t sleep, cops took it to their graves, and the McClinton family, dogged in their pursuit of justice for their daughter, pushed and bent till they almost broke.

In A Devil Went Down to Georgia, award-winning magazine writer Deb Miller Landau details the shocking events that followed Lita’s murder, including the surprising lack of evidence; racial bias in the justice system; the cast of characters who doggedly pursued leads; the story of the hitman; and the international manhunt for Lita’s killer. Full of twists and turns, legal battles, and a family’s unrelenting dedication to justice, Landau's rigorous investigation is the first complete account of this tragic American crime and brings long-overdue recognition to Lita and her family’s pursuit of justice.

Cover of A Right Worthy Woman

About the Author

Deb Miller Landau first began investigating Lita McClinton Sullivan's murder for Atlanta Magazine in the early 2000’s. Her article on the murder was anthologized in Harper Perennial's Best American Crime Writing, and her work became foundational research for many news stories and TV documentaries about the case.

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