Richard Merritt, disbarred Georgia attorney, set to go to trial for killing his mother

The long awaited trial of a Georgia attorney accused of beating and stabbing his mother to death is set to begin this week.

Richard Merritt was facing years in prison for defrauding legal clients and set to turn himself in when police say he killed his mother, stole her car, and ran.

FOX 5 senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell followed Merritt’s fraud case that involved seventeen victims was in Nashville shortly after U.S. Marshals captured Merritt.

U.S. Marshals Senior Inspector Frank Lempka showed us Merritt’s wanted poster on an office hallway wall, stamped: "Apprehended". 

It was one of hundreds of similar posters. 

"His picture was put up just because of all the hard work our task force officers did to find him," said Lempka. "So, now Richard Merritt has a spot on the wall."

In 2017, the FOX 5 I-Team investigated how more than a dozen victims said well-known Cobb County attorney Richard Merritt stole their settlement checks after handling their personal injury lawsuits.

"There is no excuse for my behavior. It shouldn’t have happened," Merritt said in court in 2019.

In January 2019, a Cobb County judge sentenced Merritt to 15 years in prison for stealing more than $454,706 from 17 different clients. But, Merritt was given two weeks to get his affairs in order. 

 The day he was supposed to turn himself in, his mother cooked him his last family meal. Then with plates still on the table, and pots on the stove, police believe Merritt brutally murdered her and then ran. He was on the lam for 8 months.

The FOX 5 I-Team was there soon after Merritt was caught by US Marshals in Tennessee on September 30, 2019.   

Now, Merritt is set to stand trial on charges of murder, while he is serving a 30-year prison sentence for stealing from his clients and violating terms of his probation.

Rob Merritt is the brother of the accused killer. He earlier told FOX 5 it has been four years since his mother was brutally beaten with a hand weight. He’s ready to learn what happened that disturbing day.

"We need to get to the bottom of this story. We’ve been waiting to hear the details, what apparently happened, I’d like to hear it, I’d like to know," Rob Merritt said.

Richard Merritt

Richard Merritt (Georgia Department of Correction)

 Back in 2019, Merritt’s ex-wife, Jenine Minicozzi and her son Jack told FOX 5 they were ready for the trial.

"It makes me happier than ever that he’s going to be facing what he’s done. He can’t run anymore, can’t hide anymore," said Minicozzi.

"When we see someone go to trial, it definitely feels good, because we know that we made a difference, helped someone out, helped future potential victims out, said Lempka.

The trial is set to begin with jury selection sometime this week.