MARIETTA, Ga. — An 18-year-old man was convicted of murder Friday in the shooting of a baby in a stroller in a coastal Georgia town despite the defense’s attempt to cast guilt upon several others, including the child’s parents.
Jurors deliberated about two hours before finding De’Marquise Elkins guilty of 11 counts, including two counts of felony murder and one count of malice murder in the March 21 killing of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in Brunswick. The defendant’s mother, Karimah Elkins, was on trial alongside him and was found guilty of tampering with evidence but acquitted of lying to police.
De’Marquise Elkins faces life in prison when he is sentenced. At the time of the shooting he was 17, too young to face the death penalty in Georgia.
His lead defense attorney, public defender Kevin Gough, vowed to appeal. A judge denied a request for the teen to be out on bond during the appeal.
“Marky Elkins and his family are confident that he will receive another trial in which he will be able to present fully his defense,” Gough said. “Mr. Elkins will eventually be exonerated.”
Karimah Elkins’s lawyer, Wrix McIlvaine, said that she will probably appeal.
Sherry West testified that she was walking home from a post office with her son the morning of the killing.
A gunman demanding her purse shot her in the leg and shot her baby in the face after she told him she had no money, she said.
Prosecutors said during the two-week trial that De’Marquise Elkins and an accomplice, Dominique Lang, 15, are the ones who stopped West. Prosecutors said the older teen pointed a small .22 at West and demanded money. After West refused several times to turn over the money, Elkins fired a warning shot, then shot the woman in the leg and the baby between the eyes, prosecutors said.
The killing in the port city drew national attention, and the trial was moved to Marietta because of extensive publicity.
Prosecutors said information from Elkins’s mother and sister led to a pond where they found the gun. Elkins’s sister also was charged with evidence tampering.
Lang, a key prosecution witness in Elkins’s trial, is set to go to trial at a later date.
The defense tried throughout the trial to prove that the investigation was flawed and that police refused to consider other leads or investigate further once they had Elkins in custody the day after the killing
“They finished their case in 25 hours. Everything else they did after that they just sugarcoated,” attorney Jonathan Lockwood said.