It's now been 10 days that a disgraced attorney accused of killing his mother has escaped authorities. Now, they're hoping a reward for information helps them track him down.
Richard Merritt was supposed to surrender to authorities Feb. 1 after a judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for stealing money from more than two dozen clients. The judge allowed Merritt to remain free after sentencing, setting a date for him to turn himself in so he could get his affairs in order. Instead of reporting to a Cobb County Jail, police said he cut his ankle monitor - then killed his mother inside her own home before skipping town.
Now, authorities are expanding their search for Merritt to a nation-wide manhunt, and the US Marshals are offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who has information to help find him.
Merritt's actions have left both his family - and the clients he victimized - fearful for their lives.
“I think there was always a concern that he might flee given the nature the crimes he had committed, but no one ever saw this coming,” said Richard Merritt's brother, Robert.
Robert said if the judge had ordered Merritt into custody as soon as he was sentenced, Merritt wouldn't have had to opportunity to commit the alleged stabbing, and their mother Shirley would still be alive.
Now, Robert is urging his brother to turn himself in – to give everyone peace of mind.
“The rest of us, we don't want to have to look over our shoulder for the rest of our lives,” Robert said. “We all children ... everyone is flabbergasted by the brutality that was done.”
11Alive asked some of Merritt’s former clients about the situation, but they said they were too afraid to speak on camera.
U.S. Marshals said because of Merritt's occupation, and because he knew people in a lot of places, he could be anywhere. They believe he may be driving his mother’s car – a Lexus RX350 with Georgia tag CBV 6004.
Investigators said they are working a few leads. If anyone sees Merritt, they're warned to not approach him and call authorities immediately.
Content from NBC News was used in this report.
PHOTOS: Richard Merritt