Divorce lawyer is shot dead ‘by estranged husband of female client after he won her $170,000 settlement’

Divorce lawyer is shot dead

(L-R:The victim and Georgia divorce attorney)

A Georgia divorce attorney has been shot dead by the estranged husband of one of his clients. 


Lawrenceville police say Doug Lewis was alone inside his offices on Stone Mountain Street on Wednesday evening, December 7, 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 crime suffering from burns of his own.  


Divorce lawyer is shot dead


Investigators now say Tayeh owed Lewis more than $28,000 in legal fees, after the well-respected attorney won his ex-wife a $170,000 settlement and a judge ordered he 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.


Authorities have said they were first alerted to a fire at Lewis’s offices inside an old, converted house at around 5pm. When they arrived they saw the wood building was severely burnt, and once the fire was extinguished, firefighters found Lewis’ body still inside.


A witness told authorities on the scene they had seen a man walking away from the scene who also seemed to have been burned, and Lawrenceville police were able to 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.’


But 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 enlisted 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 and send her $500 in monthly alimony.


A judge then ruled in late October that Tayeh would also have to pay his ex-wife’s legal fees from the divorce proceedings, amounting to $28,483.23  within 30 days.


He had apparently never paid those bills, 11 Alive reports, with court filings from December 1 showing 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 cancelled. 

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