Fourth suspect in slaying nabbed

LAWRENCEVILLE - The final suspect in the home invasion killing of a Lilburn convenience store owner that rattled Gwinnett's Ethiopian community a year ago is reportedly behind bars.

Demarcus Crawford, 20, of Atlanta, is charged with burglary and murder for allegedly breaking in to Tedla Lemma's home March 25 last year and leaving the disabled man for dead, according to his arrest warrant.

A Gwinnett police detective testified last month the final suspect thought to be on Lemma's property at the time of his death was nicknamed "Money Marc." Crawford bears a tattoo with those words on his hand, according to jail records.

Crawford is also wanted on outstanding warrants in DeKalb County and College Park, his warrant says. He remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond, pending a probable cause hearing Thursday.

Crawford's arrest Wednesday came days before the first of his co-defendants, Riverdale resident Quincy Marcel Jackson, will stand trial for killing Lemma, 51.

Police believe Crawford's accomplices first pillaged Lemma's home in November 2007 for cash and valuables. On a return trip, Lemma was reportedly hog-tied, beaten and gagged so tightly he suffocated.

Jackson's former roommate in Riverdale, Marshae Brooks, was arrested and charged with murder in February after the fourth suspect, Loran Araya, told prosecutors of his involvement. Cell phone records helped tie each suspect to the scene, investigators said.

Police believe the crew perpetrated four home-invasion robberies in the months prior to Lemma's death, including the kidnapping of two Buckhead jewelry store owners living in Stone Mountain.

Police said 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, a well-heeled businessman from Ethiopia, was paralyzed from being shot in the head during a robbery several years ago. Detectives have testified the suspects never intended to kill Lemma and only learned of his death via broadcast news reports later.

Jury selection in Jackson's trial began Monday morning. He's charged with 17 counts, including felony murder, burglary, false imprisonment and kidnapping with bodily injury.

Jackson filed for a speedy trial, "which is why the case has proceeded more quickly than others," said Assistant District Attorney Christa Kirk, who's helping prosecute.

Trials for all other co-defendants are pending, Kirk said.