Highly respected divorce lawyer was shot dead Wednesday, ‘by the husband of female client after he won a significant settlement for his client her against her estranged spouse
Doug Lewis was alone in his offices in Lawrenceville, Georgia on Wednesday evening when Allen Tayeh allegedly walked in and shot him dead
Tayeh, 65, then allegedly poured gasoline all over Lewis’ attorneys offices and started a fire with his victim’s remains inside
On arrival cops were told by witnesses that a man was seen leaving the burning office
When the fire that was determined to be arson because of the strong smell of an accelerant, was extinguished the corpse was discovered
Tayeh who was arrested immediately, as he was walking away from the scene, had a recently fired revolver and telltale burns from the arson
Authorities allege in court documents that Tayeh owed Lewis more than $28,480 as part of his ex-wife’s $170,000 divorce settlement
He had until the end of November to pay for his exes’ legal fees, and when he didn’t, Lewis filed paperwork asking a judge to hold him in contempt of court
Tayeh is held without bond as he faces charges of felony murder and first-degree arson
A Georgia divorce attorney was shot dead by the estranged husband of one of his clients before the disgruntled man torched his office with his remains still inside, authorities allege.
Lawrenceville police say prominent local attorney, Doug Lewis, was alone inside his offices on Stone Mountain Street Wednesday evening when Allen Tayeh walked in and shot him dead.
Tayeh then allegedly poured gasoline all over Lewis’s office, and started a fire before he was spotted walking away from the scene of the murder and arson, suffering from burns of his own.
Investigators now say Tayeh owed Lewis more than $28,000 in legal fees, after the highly-regarded attorney representing the suspect’s ex-wife, won a settlement of $170,000 for his client and a judge ordered Tayeh pay for his exes’ attorney’s fees as well.
Tayeh, 65, is now facing felony murder and first-degree arson charges, and is being held at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.
First responders were first alerted to a fire at Lewis’s offices inside an old, converted house at around 5.00 pm on Wednesday. After putting out the the flames in the severely burnt building, firefighters found Lewis’ body still inside.
A witness told officers that they saw a man walking out of the flaming building who appeared to have suffered burns, leading police to immediately apprehend and detain Tayeh on the scene.
‘He did have a firearm on him,’ Lt. Jake Parker told WUSA.
‘A revolver that had spent cartridges in the cylinders. And there were gas cans and an odor of gasoline round the area as well.
‘It’s pretty brazen,’ he added of the murder.
‘It’s kind of out of the blue.’
However, court documents obtained by 11 Alive now suggest Tayeh may have been motivated to kill Lewis over the substantial settlement he won his ex-wife.
The documents state that Tayeh’s ex-wife filed for divorce in January 2021, and retained Lewis as her attorney. A verdict was then reached in August to dissolve the marriage.
Under the terms set forth by a local judge, Tayeh would have to give his ex-wife half of his retirement benefits, pay $138,000 within 90 days for her share of equity in their Dacula house in addition to monthly payments of $500 in alimony.
A further ruling in late October ordered Tayeh to pay $28,483.23, representing his ex-wife’s legal fees from the divorce proceedings, within 30 days.
He had apparently never paid those bills. Court filings from December 1 show that Lewis requested a judge hold him in contempt of court for failing to make the payments.
‘The payment for attorneys’ fees was due to be received by Plaintiff’s counsel on or before November 30, 2022,’ Lewis wrote.
‘Defendant failed to make the payment for attorneys’ fees as ordered by the court,’ he continued, writing: ‘Defendant is in willful contempt of the court’s order dated October 31, 2022.’
A hearing was set to discuss the matter for December 14, but has since been canceled.
Lewis is now remembered as a nice, family-man who has been in practice in Gwinnett County for 30 years.
‘I’m going to miss him,’ fellow attorney Phil McCurdy said. ‘He had a great sense of humor and a very quick wit.’
Observing that they were sometimes adversaries in court, but also served as co-counsel at other times, McCurdy adds, ‘Doug was a consummate gentleman,’ he said. ‘I’ve never heard him raise his voice. I never saw him lose his temper. I never saw him treat anyone except with respect,’ he added.
Lawrenceville police, Gwinnett County fire detectives and the medical examiner are still investigating. So far, police said the suspect has not made any statements about any of this