Transcript for Nationwide manhunt continues for lawyer accused of killing his mother
Thank you very much. We'll move to a nationwide manhunt to a fugitive former lawyer who is accused of killing his own mother. U.S. Marshals releasing a new picture of the man who went on the run when he was supposed to be starting a lengthy prison sentence. ABC's erielle reshef is here. Good morning to you. Reporter: Good morning to you guys. This is a shocking case. The D.A. Says after he was convicted of a crime, he lived with his mother without incident for a year. She even posted bond for him, but just before he was due to turn himself into jail, he fled, allegedly killing her and taking off in her car. This morning, this surveil image, a new clue in the nationwide manhunt for a disbarred Georgia attorney now considered an armed and dangerous killer. He's very dangerous at this T. Reporter: U.S. Mahals say the photo snapped at a gas station near Atlanta shows Richard just after he cut off his ankle monitor. Authorities say he then fatally stabbed his own mother, stealing her Lexus and taking off. Once you kill anyone, it's easier for you to kill someone else, especially if you kill your own mother. Reporter: The 44-year-old, convicted in January of stealing from clients and elder abuse, sentenced to 15 years behind bars, ordered to report to jail February 1st. I understand what I have done is morally reprehensible. It's very criminal. Reporter: But he didn't show. Instead, sparking a desperate multistate search. Merritt's brother telling ABC news he should never have been allowed to post bond. The decision to give Richard two more weeks, it really doesn't make sense because he was a flight risk. Reporter: Urging him to turn himself in. You certainly need to be held accountable for the brutal murder of our mother. Reporter: A former client who testified against Merritt, now angered and terrorized by his disappearance, wishing to remainanfor safety. I'm very angry and very sad for Mrs. Merritt and this is very surreal to me. I'm angry at Cobb county for letting him out and putting us all in this situation. Reporter: Overnight, his defense attorney offering thoughts and prayers to the entire family writing in a statement, for an entire year, my client was out on bail. Not once did he hint he would run from justice, much less show any signs that he was capable of such heinous violence. The Cobb county D.A. Says because Merritt had been convicted of a nonviolent crime, he was allowed to wear an ankle monitor and turn himself in and says there was no evidence to suggest he would become violent. Merritt's brother also tells ABC news there were no warning signs he would manifest this type of anger. It's really strange. Absolutely. And disturbing. Erielle reshef, thank you.
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