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Couple faces murder charges
« on: July 17, 2008, 08:30:17 AM »
Couple faces murder charges
Slain man's family relieved

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/17/08

Relatives have been visiting Tedla Lemma's grave almost daily since he was killed in a home invasion four months ago.

His sister-in-law, Rosemary Lemma, returned there Wednesday with newfound peace after learning police had captured the alleged killers.
Lorna Zemedu Araya
Quincy Marcel Jackson

"I know he is laughing, saying 'You thought you would get away with it,' " Rosemary Lemma said. "I just can't believe it's finally coming to a close."

Quincy Marcel Jackson, 27, of Riverdale, and Lorna Zemedu Araya, 25, of Atlanta, are being held without bond at the Gwinnett jail on murder charges related to the slaying of Lemma.

Araya was arrested on Monday. Jackson was taken into custody Tuesday night, Gwinnett Police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said.

Police say the pair may also be responsible for two other home invasions in Gwinnett in 2007.

Lemma was found dead at the home he shared with family members on Kenion Forest Drive near Lilburn on March 25. Members of the tight-knit family grew increasingly worried when Lemma failed to answer the phone that day.

Lemma's brother sent officers to check on his welfare, and Rosemary Lemma said she was on her way to check on him when police met her at the driveway. They told her Lemma was dead.

Police still aren't saying how Lemma was killed.

Lemma worked at a family-owned liquor store off Memorial Drive in Atlanta and lived with his brother, sister-in-law and their three children. Police said Lemma was 51, but family members say he was 47.

He had been robbed twice before. On Nov. 7, 2007, he was robbed at home. Years ago, in July 1993, he had been robbed at a convenience store where he worked.

The robbers in the convenience store hold-up shot Lemma, a native of Ethiopia, twice in the head. One of the bullets remained lodged inside Lemma's head, because doctors told the family it was too dangerous to remove it. The other bullet was removed, along with part of Lemma's brain, Rosemary Lemma said.

Lemma suffered permanent paralysis to the left side of the body as a result. He had to walk with a cane most of the time, and he also lost some short-term memory function, relatives said.

Lemma looked at his survival with humor despite the setbacks. He referred to himself as a cockroach, laughingly telling relatives "I will never die," because he had survived so much, Rosemary Lemma said.

Police believe Jackson and Araya are the same suspects who ambushed and robbed Lemma and his brother at their home on Nov. 7. His family was appalled that the robbers had targeted such a defenseless person not once, but twice.

He would not have been able to run or put up a fight, his brother, Sirak Lemma, said.

The same suspects may also be involved in an unrelated home invasion near Lilburn last year, Spellman said.

In that incident, a couple was kidnapped from their home and their 15-year-old son held hostage the day after Christmas. The robbers ordered the couple to take them to a jewelry store that the two own in downtown Atlanta.

One of the suspects stayed behind with the bound and gagged 15-year-old son.

At some point during the robbery, police said the husband escaped and managed to call 911. The robbers became worried and fled. The teen freed himself after realizing he was alone. No one was injured.

Police said Wednesday there could be more suspects in the home invasion cases, and more arrests could follow.