An 18 year old man has been found guilty of murder in the case where a baby riding in a stroller alongside his mother was shot in a coastal Georgian town. This is despite the defense’s attempts to cast the guilt on several other people, including the parents of the child. The jurors deliberated for around two hours before deciding that the teenager, De’Marquise Elkins was guilty of eleven counts, which included two felony murder counts and one of malice murder during the 21st of March murder of 13-month-old baby, Antonio Santiago, in the town of Brunswick. Karimah Elkins, the teenager’s mother, was also on trial alongside him and was convicted of evidence tampering but found not guilty of lying to the police.
De’Marquise is looking at life imprisonment once he is sentenced on a later date. At the time the shooting took place, he was 17 and too young to be charged with the death penalty under the laws of Georgia. Public defender Kevin Gough, the defense lead attorney, swore to appeal the verdict. The Judge rejected his request that the teenager be released on bond for the duration of appeal. Gough said that the family was confident that De’Marquise would receive another trial where he will have the chance to present his defense fully and that eventually, he will be exonerated. Wrix Mcllavine, attorney for Karimah Elkins, said he would consult with his client and they would most likely appeal.
During the case, Sherry West, the mother of the child, testified that she was on foot headed home with her son from the post office on the morning of the murder. She said that a man with a gun, who was demanding her purse, shot her baby in the face and her in the leg after she said she did not have money. Prosecutors, who did not comment on the verdict, said during the trial that De’Marquise together with an accomplice Dominique Land (15 years), were the ones who stopped Sherry West. Prosecutors said that the older teenager pointed a .22 revolver at Sherry West and demanded that she gives them money. When she refused, he fired a warning shot, shot West in the leg and the child between his eyes.
The murder in the city of Brunswick attracted attention nationally and the trial was taken to the suburb of Marietta in Atlanta due to the extensive local publicity. Prosecutors said that information acquired from the teen’s mother and sister let the investigating team to a pond where the revolver used was found. The sister was also charged with tampering of evidence. Lang, also the key prosecution witness in the trial, is set to be tried on a later date.
During an interview with the Associated Press, Sherry West said that she did not want to say excessively much after the verdict as there were still other pending trials where she is set to testify. During the trial, West spent hours on the stand being questioned by the defense on her medical and personal history. She said in a telephone interview that being on the stand where she was asked very many questions by the defense on personal matters made her nervous and that it was embarrassing.