Couple Shot On Dallas Porch, Suspect Arrested In Colo.

Victims Desta Yenenesh, Lemma Yayehyirad Owned Ethiopian Restaurant

A man wanted in the killing of an Ethiopian couple in Dallas was arrested in Aurora last weekend after police were tipped that he was hanging around a local Ethiopian Orthodox Church, police said.

Abey Bellette Girma, 37, was arrested early Saturday during a traffic stop after he attempted to drive away from St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Church at 16250 E. Colfax Ave., said Aurora police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassidee Carlson.

Girma is accused of killing Yayehyirad Lemma, 40, and his wife, Yenenesh Abayneh Desta, 30, the owners of a popular Dallas Ethiopian restaurant, early last Wednesday on the front porch of their home, according to an arrest warrant affidavit cited by KTVT-TV in Dallas. The victims were parents of an 18-month-old boy.

The document said Girma killed the couple because he felt they had "disrespected" him.

A co-worker of the suspect contacted Dallas police to report that Girma had admitted to killing the couple, the affidavit said. The witness said Girma told him he followed the couple to their home after they closed had Desta Restaurant for the night.

Girma confronted Lemma and then shot the husband after Girma said he "continued to disrespect him," the affidavit said, according to KTVT-TV. Girma told co-worker that he then shot Desta because she had "also disrespected him," the affidavit said.

Girma showed the co-worker the gun used to kill the couple, the affidavit said.

Girma was arrested in Aurora after local police received a call Friday night from a woman who said she had a suspicious encounter with a man during the Thursday night service at St. Mary's Church, police said.

The woman said a man who only identified himself as "Abey" was unknown to members of the congregation, according to police. Abey asked the woman for her phone number, but she refused to give it to him.

The woman told police she again saw the man hanging around the church during the Friday night service.

At about 10:45 p.m. Friday, the woman heard a knock on the door and window of her apartment in the 1300 block of South Chambers Road, Carlson said.

The woman peered outside, recognized the man as Abey and didn't open the door, Carlson said.

Like many in Aurora's Ethiopian community, the woman was aware of the killing of the Ethiopian couple in Dallas, Carlson said.

The Aurora woman looked up a news story on the Internet and recognized a photo of the suspect, Abey Girma, as the man who was at her door, Carlson said.

The woman immediately called Aurora police, who confirmed that Girma was wanted with Dallas police. Carlson said.

Aurora officers began searching the area of the apartment and the Ethiopian church.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, officers spotted a vehicle in the parking lot of the church, Carlson said. A man in the vehicle drove from the lot, and police stopped the vehicle at East 12th Avenue and North Chambers Road.

The only person in the vehicle, Abey Girma, was arrested without incident, Carlson said.

Girma was held without bond Monday at the Arapahoe County Jail on a fugitive warrant out of Texas.

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