Exhumation considered in murder case

Dec. 23, 2004 at 10:59 AM

ATLANTA, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Georgia authorities are considering exhuming the body of the uncle of wealthy murder suspect James Sullivan of Palm Beach, Fla.

The uncle had willed Sullivan a liquor distributorship that he later sold for $5 million, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.

Sullivan is awaiting trial next spring in the contract slaying of his wife, Lita, in 1987. They were in the midst of a bitter divorce at the time of her death.

Sullivan had inherited Crown Beverages in Macon, Ga., when his uncle, Frank Bienert, died in 1975. Sullivan sold the company in 1983 and bought an oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach.

Bibb County, Ga., prosecutor Howard Simms said he is considering exhuming Bienert's body for an autopsy. Bienert is buried in Boston.

Simms said Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, who is prosecuting the contract murder case, told him "there are reasons to have suspicion that foul play was involved in Bienert's death."

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