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Disbarred Georgia attorney on the run after allegedly killing mother

COBB COUNTY, Ga. (WHNT/CNN) — A nationwide manhunt is underway for a disbarred Georgia attorney accused of killing his mother.

Richard Merritt had been sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 years on probation after being convicted of stealing money from his clients and elder abuse. The court found him guilty on more than 30 counts of theft, forgery and elder exploitation.

He was given until 5 p.m. on February 1 to get his affairs in order before turning himself in.

Instead, he cut off his ankle monitor and fled, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

The day after Merritt was supposed to surrender, his mother, Shirley Merritt, was found violently killed. Her car was missing, while Merritt’s vehicle was found at the scene, the Marshals Service said in a statement.

“The vehicle he may be driving is a 2009 silver Lexus RX350, bearing a Georgia tag CBV 6004,” the statement says. “He may have shaved his head or otherwise changed his appearance, and should be considered armed and dangerous. Do not try to engage him. If you see Merritt, please contact law enforcement immediately.”

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