A Georgia attorney was murdered and his law office was set on fire earlier this month. Police believe the culprit is the ex-husband of a recent divorcee the late attorney was in the process of representing.
Attorney Doug Lewis was shot to death on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. After that, the assailant poured a can of gasoline inside the old home converted into law offices and set the structure alight.
“It’s pretty brazen,” Lawrenceville Police Department Lieutenant Jake Parker said in comments reported by Atlanta, Ga. NBC affiliate WXIA. “It’s kind of out of the blue.”
Allen Tayeh, 65, stands accused of malice murder and arson. The defendant was allegedly arrested with his pistol in his hand.
“He did have a firearm on him,” Parker told WXIA. “A revolver that had spent cartridges in the cylinders….And there were gas cans and an odor of gasoline around the area as well.”
In comments reported by Atlanta-based Fox affiliate WAGA, the lieutenant said the defendant was not, himself, unscathed.
“The suspect that was detained actually had injuries that were consistent with being in or near the fire, he had burns on the pants, singed hair,” Parker told the TV station.
The deceased counselor is remembered fondly by his peers and loved ones.
“Doug was a consummate gentleman,” attorney Phil McCurdy told WXIA. “I’ve never heard him raise his voice, I never saw him lose his temper. I never saw him treat anyone except with respect…I don’t know anyone who didn’t respect him as a colleague, as a professional, and as a human being.”
“I’m going to miss him,” McCurdy added. “He had a great sense of humor and a very quick wit.”
In an email to the TV station, Lewis’ close friend and former law partner Jesse Kent offered a sad and tender eulogy:
Doug was a dedicated family man who cherished his wife and children. Rarely did a day pass that he didn’t mention them or how proud he was of them. Doug was a joy to be around; he was the standard that all lawyers – including me – aspired to be. His absence was felt the moment he left us and the legal profession will never be the same without him.
According to the State Bar of Georgia, Lewis received his law degree from West Virginia University. He was admitted as a member of the bar in 1992 and practiced law for just over 30 years when he was killed.
Various local media outlets in the Atlanta area have reported that Tayeh and his ex-wife, to-be represented by Lewis, were due back for their next scheduled hearing in ongoing proceedings this week.
According to court records reviewed by WXIA, a judge recently ordered Tayeh to pay attorney’s fees to Lewis in excess of $20,000. A document filed by the attorney just before he was murdered claimed that the defendant had yet to pay whatsoever. That filing reportedly asked the judge to hold Tayeh in contempt.
The defendant is currently being detained in the Gwinnett County Jail.
[Images: Doug Lewis via Doug Lewis; Allen Tayeh via Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]