ATLANTA, DEC. 10 -- Soldier of Fortune magazine said today it will appeal a decision that found it liable for publishing a "gun for hire" advertisement blamed in the murder of an Atlanta businessman.

"We will take this {case} as far as necessary, even to the Supreme Court," Managing Editor John Coleman said.

The magazine, headquartered in Boulder, Colo., was found liable Friday by a federal district court jury in Montgomery, Ala., for wrongful death and negligence and was ordered to pay $12.4 million.

The case stems from the 1985 murder of Richard Braun, an Atlanta businessman who was gunned down in front of his house by a masked man.

The Braun family claimed that a "gun for hire" classified advertisement placed in the magazine's June 1985 issue by Richard Savage, of Knoxville, Tenn., was responsible for Braun's death. Savage and a business associate of Braun have been convicted of murder, according to Braun family attorney Steve Glassroth.

The magazine no longer publishes personal-service ads. "We yanked them in January 1986 as soon as we had a glimmer that someone might have used the ads for such a purpose," Coleman said.

He insisted that the magazine was not responsible for Braun's death and said no publisher could be expected to check every classified ad. "The chilling effect stemming from this case is incredible," he added.

But Glassroth said, "The publisher thought this added to the mystique of the magazine. They wanted to generate a macho image, so they turned a blind eye."