DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (TCD) — A judge sentenced a former attorney to life in prison without parole for killing his mother in 2019 the day he was supposed to turn himself in to prison on unrelated charges.
DeKalb County court records show Richard Merritt was convicted Wednesday, May 24, of murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault — family violence, aggravated assault, and possession of firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain crimes in connection with the stabbing death of his mother, Shirley Merritt.
According to WXIA-TV, Merritt was supposed to report to the Cobb County Jail on Feb. 1, 2019, to begin his 15-year sentence for theft, forgery, and elder exploitation. Merritt, however, fatally stabbed 77-year-old Shirley at her DeKalb County home, cut off his ankle monitor, and fled to Nashville. She was found dead the next day.
U.S. Marshals arrested Merritt in Tennessee on Sept. 30, 2019, while he was living under a new name.
WAGA-TV reports Merritt testified at his trial that two men knocked on the door and they held him and his mother at gunpoint.
He said, “That monster took a dumbbell and bludgeoned my mother in front of me. The other one came back with a kitchen knife and stabbed my mom in front of me.”
Following the guilty verdicts, Merritt confessed, “I was raised right by two beautiful people and I had a beautiful wife and children. The world was our oyster, and I blew it over the worst drug there is: the green money. I made a lot of bad choices and decisions.”
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