MARIETTA, Ga. — Just 24 hours after confidently laying the blame on former friend De’Marquise Elkins in the shooting death of Sherry West’s infant baby in Brunswick, Ga., teenager Dominique Lang is backtracking furiously under cross-examination about the accuracy of his statements to authorities. Lang admitted to defense attorneys that he lied multiple times in his account of the facts to police and said he was led by investigators in other instances.
Lang, 15, was allegedly with Elkins, 18, on March 21 when Antonio Santiago was shot between the eyes in his stroller, dying instantly. Antonio’s mother, Sherry West, was also shot in the leg by a small-caliber pistol. Brunswick Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson said in opening statements that Elkins allegedly issued several stern demands for West’s purse — along with multiple warnings — after he pulled out his gun and supposedly pistol-whipped West, then shot her in the leg and then, after a final warning, walked around shot the 13-month-old infant execution style.
In Thursday’s cross examination, Glynn County court-appointed attorney Jonathan Lockwood got Lang to admit that he repeatedly lied to investigators when questioned on March 22, the day after the murder. He even muttered to himself in the interrogation room before officers arrived.
“That was you practicing the lies you were about to tell police?” Lockwood asked.
“Yes, sir,” Dominique Lang replied.
The teenager had originally denied involvement with police. Next, he said he hadn’t seen any of the shots fired.
“That was the first lie,” Lockwood said.
“Yes, sir,” Lang responded.
“Then you said you saw one of the shots fired,” Lockwood probed. “Later on, you said ‘wait a minute, I did see the third shot go off.'”
“I never saw the third shot go off,” Lang said.
“But you told police that you saw the third shot go off, didn’t you?” Lockwood asked.
“I did say that because the police was pushing me to say it,” Lang responded.
When Lockwood pressed, Dominique acknowledged changing his story at the urging of a detective.
“He was pushing me to say that,” Lang responded.
“So, if people push you to say things, you’ll lie. Is that right?” Lockwood asked.
“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.
“At first you told police that you didn’t see a gun, so that was a fourth lie,” Lockwood pressed, harder and harder with each question.
“Yes, sir,” the teenager said.
“You also told the detective that you didn’t know he had a gun, so that’s a fifth lie,” Lockwood said.
In all, Lockwood got Lang to admit that he told up to 15 lies to investigators, the district attorney’s office and family members.
Just before the lunch recess, Lockwood had one more quip for Lang.
“You’d have to agree that you’re not the most honest person,” the lawyer said.
“Yes, sir,” Dominique said.
“At this point, you’ve lied to police, you’ve lied to your grandmother and you’ve lied to your aunt,” said Lockwood.
“I don’t like my aunt,” Lang quipped quickly.
In the afternoon, under relentlessly intense interrogation from Lockwood, Lang blurted out in Rachel Jeantel style, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” and had to be coaxed calmly into continuing the cross examination by Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen D. Kelley.