Man gets life in prison for shooting, killing girlfriend at Marietta restaurant

‘I won’t ever get my mom back,’ victim’s teen daughter says at sentencing

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

A man who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his girlfriend at a Marietta Mexican restaurant in 2020 was sentenced Friday to life in prison, officials said.

Jose Ramon Lemus, 53, pleaded guilty earlier this month to murdering his girlfriend in a shooting that led to lockdowns on the campuses of Kennesaw State and Life universities, Cobb County District Attorney Flynn D. Broady said. With his plea, Lemus admitted to killing 43-year-old Janice Ross at the El Ranchero Restaurant on Cobb Parkway.

The incident took place Dec. 6, 2020, around 2:30 p.m., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. According to Broady, Lemus and Ross went to lunch at El Ranchero. During their meal, Ross questioned Lemus about another woman with whom he had been communicating. Lemus became angry during the conversation and pulled out a gun. He shot Ross in the neck and then ran into the woods behind the restaurant.

With Lemus armed and on the run, both universities issued shelter-in-place orders on their campuses, the AJC reported. Lemus was found hiding in some bushes near a baseball field on KSU’s Marietta campus by a police K-9 officer. He was identified by witnesses from the restaurant and from his Honduran passport, which Lemus left in a backpack at El Ranchero.

Ross died at the scene from her gunshot wound.

“I need my mom here and she won’t be there,” Ross’ 14-year-old daughter said during Friday’s sentencing hearing. “She won’t be at prom or my high school graduation. I won’t ever get my mom back and it hurts. I hope he knows how badly he has affected me.”

“This was senseless, and it was tragic,” Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann B. Harris said. “You have not just destroyed one life. You have brought destruction on an entire family. I hope that weighs on you for the rest of your natural life.”