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Brunswick baby murder trial: Dominique Lang’s lawyer paid $23,000 cash to rep murder co-defendant

Defense believes Lang’s lawyer made a deal with state


MARIETTA, Ga. — Fireworks erupted in the De’Marquise Elkins baby murder trial on Wednesday when defense attorneys raised the possibility of impropriety on the prosecution’s side when Dominique Lang’s lawyer, Kimberly Copeland (above) was reportedly paid $23,000 in cash to represent the teenage murder co-defendant who, in turn, became the state’s star witness in fingering Elkins in the murder of Shelly West’s infant baby on March 21, 2013.

Defense attorney Kevin Gough told Glynn County judge Stephen D. Kelley that he is filing a motion to call Copeland back from Glynn County, Ga., to testify on what deal she may have made with the state for her client, Lang, to provide the testimony that could sent Elkins to jail for life.

Lang admitted last week in the Cobb County Superior Courthouse that he lied up to 17 times to the police, the district attorney’s office as well as his own relatives about the story he originally gave police that ended with Elkins as the triggerman.

Lang told the court that he had not made a deal with Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson to avoid a life sentence himself. But Gough, who represents Elkins, believes Copeland has some arrangement made.

“She has not filed one motion on (Lang’s) behalf in four months,” Gough said of Copeland.

Kimberly Copeland seen here comforting her client, murder co-defendant Dominique Lang.
Kimberly Copeland seen here comforting her client, murder co-defendant Dominique Lang, after tough cross-examination by defense attorneys for De’Marquise Elkins

Prosecutors wondered aloud, regardless of the fee paid to Copeland, what relevance it would have on the guilt or innocence of Elkins, 18, or Lang, 15. But Gough argued to judge Kelley believed that it has extreme relevance since her client, murder co-defendant Lang, is one of the prosecution’s most important witnesses.

Gough believes that Lang sold Elkins down the river in exchange for avoiding a life sentence.

The two teens are charged with murder and aggravated assault in the death of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago and the shooting injury to his mother, Sherry West on March 21. Both face life in prison without the possibility of parole if they are convicted on all charges.

Without jurors present in the courtroom, Judge Kelley demanded to know that, if he subjects taxpayers to the considerable cost associated with bringing Copeland back to suburban Atlanta from Brunswick, Ga. area some 325 miles away, what Gough was going to ask her.

“Your honor, I would question her on the fees she collected (and) on all the deadlines she missed,” Gough said. “Even though we are all honorable here, the Constitution does not defend on the truthfulness of the government. I believe the jury has a right to hear” what services Copeland performed for the district attorney’s office and for Lang.

After Gough recited a Texas case for precedence as a rationale to call the witness back from Glynn County to Cobb County, judge Kelley said he would make a decision later in the day.

Stay tuned to further developments.

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