Detective: 4th suspect in Lilburn slaying sought
One of the Suspects, Lorna Zemedu Araya -(Photo ajc)
LAWRENCEVILLE – Detectives are searching for a fourth suspect, known on the streets as “Money Mark,” in the murder of Lilburn convenience store owner Tedla Lemma.
Another suspect in the killing, Loran Araya, of Atlanta, recently told investigators of the unidentified man’s involvement while implicating another man – Marshae Brooks – in the crime, a detective testified in Brooks’ probable cause hearing Friday.
Brooks, of Riverdale, tied up the disabled man in his bedroom while two other men stole big-screen televisions and other valuables from Lemma’s upscale Kenion Forest Drive home, Gwinnett police Det. G. Lorenzo said Araya told a panel of investigators and attorneys last month.
Lemma was hog-tied, beaten and gagged so tightly he suffocated, police have said.
A Gwinnett Magistrate Court judge forwarded a single count of murder against Brooks to Superior Court for prosecution. He remains at the Gwinnett County Jail.
Lorenzo said phone company records indicate Brooks’ cell phone was used in the vicinity of Lemma’s home March 25 last year, the day he died.
Araya and Brooks join a third alleged accomplice – Quincy Jackson, of Riverdale – who, like Araya, has been in custody since July. Brooks and Jackson were roommates, the detective said.
Brooks first told investigators he’d never set foot in Gwinnett County, but later changed his story to say he was in the home but did not hurt or bind Lemma, said Lorenzo. He claimed he was in the neighborhood visiting model homes for “decorating tips.”
After switching his story, “(Brooks) said at one point he even tried to untie (the victim),” the detective said. Brooks told police didn’t call 911 because he feared he would be blamed.
Police say Araya, a former Lilburn resident, knew most of the victims. Her parents once sold a package store to Lemma’s family.
At the time of his death, Lemma, 51, a well-heeled convenience store owner from Ethiopia, was paralyzed from a robbery when he was shot in the head several years ago.
Brooks had long been a suspect in the murder, but detectives lacked evidence to arrest him, Lorenzo said.
Araya told investigators she pulled a vehicle into Lemma’s garage and waited while the three men ransacked the home. She said Brooks later admitted to her he bound and gagged Lemma, the detective said.