MARIETTA, Ga. — Relatives and friends of murder suspect De’Marquise Elkins supplied damning testimony in favor of the prosecution on the opening of the second week in the Brunswick baby murder trial. A neighbor and friend told the court that Elkins asked to hide a RG 22-caliber handgun under her couch on March 21 — the day of the murder of the infant and shooting of his mother — while another witness said Elkins’ mother and sister soon retrieved the firearm in question.
A third state witness pointed to where the sister and mother disposed of the weapon in a salt-water pond on the outskirts of town while they were out fishing on that same day.
Elkins is accused of the Brunswick baby murder and shooting of Sherry West on a quiet, tree-lined street in this small coastal port town in southeast Georgia that made national headlines. An alleged accomplice, Dominique Lang, 15, is also accused of murder and will get a separate trial in Glynn County, Ga., some 325 miles away from the Cobb County Superior Courthouse where Elkins’ trial was moved to because of pre-trial publicity in Brunswick.
Elkins’ mother, Karimah Aisha Elkins, 36, is also on trial for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. Sabrina Elkins is charged with the same crimes as her mother Karimah but will get a separate trial in Glynn County.
Long-time family friend and neighbor in the McIntire Court housing project, Danielle Williams, testified that Elkins, 18, did come to her home on the day that Sherry West and her 13-month-old son were shot in Brunswick, Ga. — with the wounds to the baby being fatal — and asked to hide a small-caliber pistol under her love seat in her apartment. After Elkins hid the weapon, he left her home. Later, Karima and Sabrina Elkins, De’Marquise Elkins’ mother and sister, came to Williams’ home to allegedly retrieve the weapon.
Williams testified that she saw the gun and personally visualized De’Marquise Elkins hiding the weapon under her love seat. Williams then told the court that she personally saw Karimah and Sabrina retrieve the firearm and immediately leave.
“Did you direct them to the love seat?” Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson asked Williams.
“No, ma’am,” Williams answered.
“They knew right where to go?” Johnson said.
“Yes, ma’am,” Williams said.
Did you see the gun?” Johnson pressed.
Yes, ma’am,” Williams responded.
Defense attorney Jonathan Lockwood got Williams to admit she first told police that she did not see any weapon. But she changed her story when investigators revealed they had video evidence of Elkins entering and leaving the apartment on the morning of March 21.
Another resident of the apartment, Ronald Elkins, a cousin of De’Marquise, Karimah and Sabrina, said he also saw the gun. He testified that the commotion of Karima and Sabrina coming over and lifting the couch to retrieve the gun rustled him from his slumber on March 21.
Williams said he took the bullets out of the gun because his grandchild was in the apartment before giving it to Karimah Elkins.
A long-time friend of Karimah Elkins, Willie Merrell, took the stand next to describe how he gave her and her daughter a ride to their favorite fishing spot, a saltwater pond off Highway 17 behind Brunswick Floors.
“It wasn’t a good day for fishing,” Merrell testified.
When they arrived, he saw the women discussing something but failed to decipher what they were saying.
“I didn’t see them do anything. I heard a splash,” he said.
With Merrell’s statement to the police, they were able to go to the spot where Karima and Sabrina Elkins allegedly tossed the gun into the pond. An agent with Homeland Security and a detective with Glynn County Police Department testified before the court that they led the efforts to locate and retrieve the firearm on Georgia Hwy. 17 north of Brunswick in Glynn County that they believe was used in the murder on March 21. The weapon was retrieved five days after the shootings.