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Man, woman indicted in string of violent robberies

LAWRENCEVILLE - An alleged man and woman robbing crew were indicted this week in connection with a string of violent home invasions and robberies, one of which resulted in the death of a well-heeled business owner, court records show.

Authorities say on four occasions between November 2007 and March, the accused, Quincy Marcel Jackson, 27, of Riverdale, and Loran Zemedu Araya, 20, preyed on immigrant business owners living in southern Gwinnett through burglaries, kidnappings and assault to make off with cash, jewelry and other high-end items. The spree turned more sinister in March, investigators say, when the duo tied-up Lilburn convenience store owner Tedla Lemma - a previous victim of the suspects - and gagged him so tight that he suffocated and died. At the time of his death, Lemma, a native of Ethiopia, was paralyzed from a robbery and shooting several years ago.

Jackson and Araya were arrested in mid-July, charged with the slaying and were subsequently fingered in the three other robberies. Araya was indicted this week on a total of 22 charges, including murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, false imprisonment and aggravated assault, records show. Jackson, meanwhile, was indicted on 18 counts of similar charges, including murder and kidnapping.

Their alleged crimes started Nov. 7, when they robbed Lemma and his brother, Sirak, of $14,000 at the same home he later died in, authorities say. Subsequent home invasions happened in the Lilburn area on Dec. 13 and Dec. 26 last year, the latter a kidnapping involving two Buckhead jewelry store owners living in Stone Mountain., authorities say.

The violent robberies turned deadly March 25, when the suspects allegedly entered Lemma's home - situated in an upscale subdivision off Killian Hill Road - via a rear window seeking to steal his flat screen televisions and an unspecified amount of cash. Inside, the armed duo beat the victim and gagged him so tightly he couldn't breathe, which caused him to suffocate, according to a warrant.

Investigators say cell phone records put both suspects near the scenes of all four robberies. Police allege that Araya, a former Lilburn resident, was an acquaintance of all four victims. Her parents once sold a package store to Lemma's family.

Araya admitted to detectives she was involved in Lemma's robberies but didn't know he died "until she saw it on the news," a detective testified at the duo's probable cause hearing in July.

In other indictments, a Snellville man must answer to 13 counts associated with an alleged dogfighting ring he helped operate.

Efren Reyes, 33, faces 12 counts of cruelty to animals in connection with a Snellville-based dog fighting ring.

Additionally, Mohamed Imran Khan was indicted on one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of DUI in the October 2006 death of passenger Permaul Karaya, records show.