New photo released of attorney wanted for stabbing mother to death

- A nation-wide search is underway for a local man accused of the brutal murder of his own mother.

The U.S. Marshals released a new photo of 44-year-old disbarred attorney Richard Merritt Saturday night.

According to police, 44-year-old Richard Merritt is wanted for his mother, Shirley Merritt, to death at her home on the 1500 block of Planters Row in Stone Mountain, Georgia last weekend.

Officials originally said they thought Merritt may have altered his appearance when he went on the run, which they confirmed with the newly released photo.

Merritt, who previously had a goatee, is now clean shaven.

MORE: Reward offered in U.S. Marshals search for former attorney suspected of killing mother

The former attorney has been the subject of several FOX 5 I-Team investigations for stealing nearly $500,000 in legal settlements from his clients.

Earlier in January, a Cobb County Judge sentenced the disbarred attorney to 15 years in prison.

The judge granted Merritt's request for time to get his affairs in order. He was supposed to turn himself in on Friday, Feb. 1 but never showed up. Instead, investigators say he cut off his ankle monitor.

Authorities described Merritt as 5-feet-10-inches tall with a weight of around 175 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair.

He could be driving his mother's brown 2009 silver Lexus with Georgia tag CBV6004.

If you see Merritt, do not engage. Police say he could be armed and dangerous.

Marshals are asking anyone who spots him to call 911 immediately.

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