Disbarred lawyer sought by police after mother found dead

Richard Merritt. Photo: Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

Richard Merritt. Photo: Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

People are seeking a woman’s son after she was found stabbed to death inside of her Stone Mountain residence on Saturday morning.

DeKalb County police announced Saturday evening that at 9:30 a.m. officers  responded to the 1500 block of Planters Row in reference to a person dead call. The victim, Shirley Merritt, was found dead in what appears to be an isolated, domestic related incident, police said.

The suspect has been identified as her son Richard Merritt, 44. Police spokesman Sgt. J.D. Spencer said there is an active murder warrant for Merritt’s arrest.

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, according to court documents.

He pleaded guilty just days ago in Cobb County court for settling civil lawsuits without telling his clients and keeping the money for himself, according to prosecutors. The judge ordered him to spend 15 years in prison and 15 on probation in addition to paying a restitution of $454,706. The judge granted Merritt's request for time to get his affairs in order, and he was supposed to return to custody by 5 p.m. Feb. 1.

Richard Merritt is possibly in possession of the victim’s brown 2009 Lexus RX350, Georgia tag CBV6004.

DeKalb Police is asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Richard Merritt to please call 770-724-7850 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS(8477).