A former Georgia attorney is on the run after allegedly cutting off his ankle monitor, murdering his mother, and fleeing in her Lexus—all while facing 30 years behind bars for other crimes, Fox News reports. Richard Merritt, 44, was about to surrender to authorities Feb. 1 and serve his time when police say he stabbed his mother, Shirley Merritt, in DeKalb County and hit the road, per WSB-TV. "He probably knows people all over the country, being a lawyer," says a US marshal who's hunting the fugitive. "He could be anywhere. We think he may be anywhere in the country."
Merritt pleaded guilty in January to stealing from his clients—seems he settled civil suits behind their backs and kept the money for himself, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 years' probation and told he owed $454,706, Merritt asked for time to arrange his affairs but didn't turn himself in. A day later, officers went to his mother's home in Planters Row near Stone Mountain and found her body. "This has the earmarks of someone who is desperate," says a defense attorney. "And desperate people can do desperate things." Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward in the case and say the disbarred lawyer may be armed, dangerous, and altered in appearance. He could be driving a silver Lexus RX350 with the Georgia tag CBV 6004. (Read more murder stories.)