Hidden in plain sight: Richard Merritt's double life in Nashville

The wanted murder suspect and disgraced former attorney got a job, used a fake name and blended in - right under peoples' noses.
Wednesday, October 2nd 2019, 6:42 AM EDT by WXIA Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The disgraced lawyer and murder suspect accused of cutting his ankle monitor, skipping out on reporting to jail and killing his own mother, evaded capture for nearly eight months. But it didn't involve going off the grid. 

Instead, authorities said Richard Merritt hid in plain sight - taking on a new persona, getting a job and living a double life just 250 miles from metro Atlanta.

U.S. Marshals said Merritt was living in an apartment in Nashville and was even dating a woman. She, too, had no idea of Merritt's past.

While he was able to stay hidden for months, his new life began to quickly unravel - and it all started with a 911 call. 

Authorities said someone called police last week to report seeing a suspicious person pulling on the handles of cars near Vanderbilt University. It wasn't Merritt the caller had seen, but it was who they inadvertently uncovered. 

When police showed up and began running the tags on the cars possibly broken into, one, in particular, caught their eye. They found a Lexus SUV - the same one authorities said Merritt escaped in after he allegedly stabbed his mother to death.

Detectives suspected that he had to be close by, so they set up surveillance of Merritt, tracking his movements until they decided to strike. 

U.S. Marshals finally moved in Monday, arresting Merritt at a Nashville thrift store after cornering him there.

 Read more of this story on WXIA's website.



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