Man gets life for killing ex-wife’s attorney, setting Gwinnett office on fire

Allen Tayeh pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a Gwinnett County attorney.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Allen Tayeh pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing a Gwinnett County attorney.

Allen Tayeh was ordered to pay fees to his ex-wife’s attorney after the couple divorced last year.

Instead, he went to the attorney’s Gwinnett County office Dec. 7 and shot him several times. Then, he used gasoline to start a fire, according to investigators.

On Wednesday, Tayeh pleaded guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus five additional life sentences, the Gwinnett district attorney said.

The body of Douglas Lewis was found about 5:30 p.m. by firefighters who responded to the office along Stone Mountain Street, according to Lawrenceville police. Officers found Tayeh walking a short distance from the scene and he was arrested.

“His eyebrows and hair were singed, and he was burned on his hands, legs and face,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “He had a .38 revolver with five fired casings on his person, and his truck was parked in the driveway of the incident location next to Douglas Lewis’ truck.”

Investigators determined gas was used to start the fire, and gas cans were also found in his truck. Tayeh left his truck near Lewis’ body, according to investigators.

Lewis, 55, was a married father of three and had practiced law in metro Atlanta since 1992, according to his online obituary.

Gwinnett court records show that Lewis represented Tayeh’s ex-wife in a divorce case. It was opened in January 2021 and the divorce was finalized in September in a jury trial.

Allen Tayeh pleaded guilty this week in Gwinnett County.

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

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Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

After the trial, Tayeh’s ex-wife filed a motion asking him to pay for her attorney’s fees. He objected, according to court documents, but the court ruled in favor of the ex-wife and ordered him to pay $28,483.23 directly to Lewis by Nov. 30.

As part of the final divorce judgment, Tayeh was also required to pay $500 a month in alimony. Lewis, on behalf of the ex-wife, filed a motion for contempt Nov. 28, writing to the court that Tayeh had not fulfilled either of his financial requirements.

In February, a grand jury indicted Tayeh on various charges, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, criminal attempt to conceal a death, and tampering with evidence. He pleaded guilty to all of the charges, the DA said.