0

Two indicted in killing of disabled man

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Gwinnett grand jury has indicted the second half of an alleged four-person robbing crew accused of killing a disabled Lilburn man.

Prosecutors say Marshae Brooks and Demarcus "Money Marc" Crawford played roles in the home-invasion murder of Tedla Lemma, 51. They allegedly beat, gagged and hog-tied the victim, leaving him for dead in March last year.

Unable to breathe through the gag, Lemma suffocated.

Brooks and Crawford face counts of murder, felony murder, burglary and false imprisonment. Brooks is also charged with armed robbery, kidnapping with bodily injury and aggravated assault stemming from three other incidents.

Last month, a jury convicted Brooks' former roommate in Riverdale, Quincy Jackson, of murder and related charges in Lemma's death. A judge sentenced Jackson to life plus 30 years. He plans to appeal.

Jackson, who had filed a speedy trial demand, was the first to face the charges in court.

A key witness in Jackson's trial, Lorna Araya, is accused of masterminding the home invasions against members of the Ethiopian community she grew up in. Prosecutors agreed to not seek a life sentence for Araya in exchange for her testimony.

Brooks and Crawford were arrested earlier this year after Araya, incarcerated since July, told authorities they were involved.

As for the victim, Lemma lived in an upscale Lilburn home with his brother, after the two had fled their native Ethiopia and built a small fortune in the convenience store business. He was paralyzed from a store robbery and shooting several years prior.

Brooks and Crawford remain without bond at the Gwinnett County Jail. Their arraignments, wherein they could enter pleas, are expected within a month.

A fifth co-defendant, Ramon Ferguson, is charged in a December 2007 robbery and kidnapping in Stone Mountain. All but Crawford are said to have taken part in that hit, which involved owners of a Buckhead jewelry store.