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Two teens charged as adults in shooting of Georgia toddler

March 28, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • Brinswich, Ga., toddler Antonio Santiago, seen in a family photo, celebrates his first Christmas last December.
Brinswich, Ga., toddler Antonio Santiago, seen in a family photo, celebrates… (Sherry West )

Two teenagers have been indicted in Georgia on adult charges of shooting a 13-month-old child to death and wounding his mother during a robbery last week.

Though the defendants are charged as adults, neither will face the death penalty because both were younger than 18 at the time of the incident, Dist. Atty. Jackie Johnson of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit said in a statement sent by email to reporters on Thursday.

On Wednesday a Glynn County grand jury indicted De'Marquise Elkins, 17, on nine counts, including malice murder, in the slaying last week of Antonio Santiago, who was being pushed in a stroller a few blocks from his home in Brunswick, Ga. Also charged was Dominique Lang, 15, on seven counts including felony murder.

According to officials, the indictment alleges that authorities believe it was Elkins who shot the child and wounded his mother, Sherry West, with a .22-caliber revolver as the boys allegedly tried to steal money from her.

Elkins was also indicted on two counts in another case, in which he is accused of shooting Wilfredo Calix-Flores in the arm while trying to rob him on March 11.

In the Brunswick case, the key witness is West.

Kevin Gough, a public defender representing Elkins, has filed a motion asking a judge to grant him access to West’s mental health records.

“Obviously, we're concerned about her credibility, her ability to accurately recall events and identify anybody,” said Gough, according to the Associated Press. “If she suffers from any conditions that would do that, it would certainly be relevant to the case.”

In an interview with WTLV-TV, West’s adult daughter, Ashley Glassey, described her mother as “being bipolar,” and possibly taking medication for that and other conditions.

In interviews since the incident West has told reporters she was pushing her son in a stroller home after a visit to the post office when two young men approached her, demanding money. She said she refused and the older boy shot her, then the baby.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering told reporters on Wednesday before the indictment was returned that investigators believed the crime was random.

“We're comfortable now, six days into it, to say the location of the incident and the victim were random,” Doering said. “I don't have any information that shows otherwise.”

The grand jury also indicted three of Elkins' relatives on charges that they tried to help him after the shootings.

The suspect's mother, Karimah Elkins, and older sister, Sabrina Elkins, were charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly throwing the revolver that police suspect was used in the shooting into a saltwater pond where it was recovered.

Doering said the gun is being tested.

Karimah Elkins and the suspect's aunt, Katrina Elkins, were also charged with making false statements to police.


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