MARIETTA, Ga. — The lead defense attorney in the De’Marquise Elkins baby murder trial is calling for a dismissal on the grounds that the slain infant’s father has threatened witnesses who are called to testify in Cobb County Superior Court, irrevocably contaminating the sanctity of the trial.
Thursday, Elkins’ lead attorney, Kevin Gough, announced he had filed a motion for dismissal based on complaints from witnesses that they had been threatened by Antonio’s father, Louis Santiago, who was previously jailed for domestic violence related charges.
Santiago’s infant son, 13-month-old Antonio Santiago, was murdered execution style during an alleged botched robbery by De’Marquise Elkins, 18, and accomplice Dominique Lang, 15, in Brunswick, Ga., a seaside port city in the southeastern edge of the state. The murder suspects also allegedly shot the mother of Antonio, Sherry West, in the leg and grazed her ear with a third bullet.
Gough complained vociferously to Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen D. Kelley that two witnesses had contacted the Glynn County Police Department about being threatened by Louis Santiago, but that no investigation was launched. An indignant Gough characterized the lack of police action as “outrageous misbehavior.” The identity of the alleged victims of Santiago’s threats were not revealed by Gough nor the judge.
Kelley, however, said he had not had time to read the motion and suspected that the state had not either. The judge said a hearing may be held on that matter later on in the trial, possibly Sunday evening.
That Santiago would be capable of such behavior is not considered farfetched. In a wicked twist of irony, Santiago was jailed in the same Glynn County Detention Center as murder suspect De’Marquise Elkins in July after he was arrested for domestic violence against his girlfriend Sherry West, the mother of the murdered infant Antonio.
West told the media and police that Santiago “went nuts” in the months after their baby’s murder and he violated a restraining order, according to ActionNewsJax.com, a news outlet in Jacksonville, Fla., an hour south of Brunswick.
“He was throwing things through the window and terrorizing me, saying that I killed my baby and it should have been me,” West said at the time.
Glynn County Judicial District Attorney Jackie Johnson estimated that her witnesses will still be testifying through Monday afternoon before the defense begins presenting its case.