12:18, July 10 233 0 abajournal.com

2017-07-10 12:18:06
Friend of lawyer-litigant is new person of interest in 2009 death of opposing counsel

A friend of a Los Angeles tax lawyer who was a defendant in civil litigation has been named a new person of interest in the 2009 slaying of the opposing lawyer, Jeffrey Tidus.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Whittier business owner Richard Wall, 64, is a person of interest who may have information about the slaying of Tidus as well as the 2011 slaying of one of Wall’s former employees, the Los Angeles Times reports. Both killings appeared to be execution-style hits by a professional.

Tidus was shot in the head in December 2009 outside his upscale Los Angeles home. His boutique law firm had handled complex civil litigation.

Authorities are unable to locate Wall, who was friends with Los Angeles tax lawyer Christopher Gruys, the article reports. One of Tidus’ clients had sued Gruys and won an $11.2 million judgment. When Tidus’ client was unable to collect the entire judgment, the client alleged in a new suit that Gruys was hiding assets by transferring money to Wall’s business.

Tidus had obtained a restraining order against Gruys based on Gruys’ conduct at a deposition that Tidus believed to be a threat. Gruys took a photo of Tidus and said friends would be looking for Tidus when he returned from a Caribbean vacation, according to a court reporter’s sworn declarations.

Gruys was suspended from practice in 2007 after he was convicted of possession of an assault weapon, and he stopped practicing law.

Wall’s employee, Juan Mendez, was shot and killed in February 2011 after settling an overtime class action against Wall’s Whittier business, Welded Fixtures.