MARIETTA, Ga. — Jurors in the sensationalized Brunswick baby murder trial could decide today the fate of De’Marquise Elkins, the 18-year-old charged in the death of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago and shooting injury of the mother, Sherry West, 42. He faces up to life in prison with parole if convicted.
The jury will be handed the case from Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley, who will also instruct jurors to decide the guilt or innocence of Elkins’ mother, Karima Elkins, 36, who is also on trial simultaneously for obstruction of justice (for lying about her son’s whereabouts at the time of the crime) and tampering with evidence (for disposing the .22 caliber pistol in a salt-water pond). She faces up to 15 years in prison if she if convicted.
Dominique Lang, who was indicted on the same charges as De’Marquise Elkins, will get a separate trial in Glynn County, Ga. De’Marquise Elkins’ sister, Sabrina Elkins, 19, is being charged with identical crimes as their mother, Karima Elkins, but she will also receive a separate trial in Brunswick, a small coastal port city in Southeast Georgia where the murder took place.
The defense wrapped up their case and began closing arguments. But they received a major setback when the ex-wife and ex-girlfriend of Louis Santiago, whom they believe murdered his own child and elaborated on how they lived in horror and fear of him because of his violent temper and rampant abuse, were not allowed to testify Thursday, Aug. 29 because Judge Kelley ruled it was not relevant to the case.
Santiago has not been charged with a crime related to the death of his child but is in jail for violating his probation after being convicted of aggravated stalking in McIntosh County, Ga., just north of Brunswick. He is set to be released from jail soon.
In late Thursday testimony, the Rev. Wright Culepepper, the chaplain at the hospital where West was treated, said his observation was that Santiago was unemotional after learning of his son’s murder. He testified that Santiago seemed robotic, detached as West was sobbing in the hospital after she found out their son was dead.
“What I thought odd, there didn’t seem to be any warmth between them,” Culpepper said.