U.S. Marshals Service Joins Search for Disbarred Lawyer Wanted for Stabbing Death of His Mother

Richard Merritt Photo: Cobb County Sheriff’s Office / U.S. Marshals Service

The U.S. Marshals Service has joined the search for a disbarred lawyer wanted in connection with the stabbing death of his mother.

Richard Merritt, 44, was scheduled to report to custody Feb. 1 after pleading guilty to theft and elder abuse in Cobb County, but he disappeared after allegedly removing his ankle monitor, according to authorities.

The search ramped up Feb. 2 when his mother, Shirley Merritt, was found dead in what DeKalb police said appears to be an isolated, domestic-related incident. Her son is the primary suspect, police spokesman J.D. Spencer said.

U.S. marshals released on Saturday a surveillance photo of Merritt at a gas station in metro Atlanta shortly after he allegedly removed his ankle monitor. The location of the gas station where he was apparently spotted at was not provided.

The agency is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to his capture.

In February of last year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Merritt was disbarred and jailed after he admitted to stealing $75,000 from a client’s settlement in February 2017.

He pleaded guilty three weeks ago in Cobb County court for settling civil lawsuits without telling his clients and keeping the money for himself, according to prosecutors. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 on probation and ordered to pay $454,706 in restitution.

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SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chelsea Prince