Fraud lawyer now hunted in slay of mom
A massive search is underway for a convicted former Georgia lawyer who authorities say killed his mother and removed his ankle bracelet.
Richard Merritt, a disbarred attorney, was expected to surrender Feb. 1 in Cobb County after he was convicted of stealing money from clients and elder abuse. Merritt, 44, was sentenced to 30 years behind bars.
His mother, Shirley Merritt, was found stabbed to death Feb. 2, and her vehicle reported missing.
“You need to face the consequences of the criminal behavior that you were sentenced for on the 18th of January and now you certainly need to be held accountable for the brutal murder of our mother,” brother Robert Merritt told ABC News on Saturday.
The U.S. Marshals Service said in a press release that Merritt (photo far right) may be driving a silver Lexus RX 350 with the license plate CBV 6004. The service released a photo of Merritt that was taken at a gas station after he removed his ankle monitor.
He may have shaved his head or otherwise changed his appearance and “should be considered armed and dangerous.”
“He probably knows people all over the country, being a lawyer,” U.S. Marshal Frank Lempka said. “He could be anywhere. We think he may be anywhere in the country.”
Lempka warned that the fugitive’s behavior is “very unpredictable.”
“He could hurt or kill someone else at this point,” he said.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for leads related to Merritt’s whereabouts.
Anyone with information should contact the U.S. Marshals Service at (877) Wanted-2.