Teen baby killer gets life in prison

2013-09-13 22:39
De'Marquise Elkins faces life in prison. (Phil Skinner, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

De'Marquise Elkins faces life in prison. (Phil Skinner, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brunswick - A teenager convicted of fatally shooting a baby in a stroller was sentenced on Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole after the grieving mother asked a judge to punish the gunman for taking "the love of my life".

De'Marquise Elkins, 18, stood silent and showed no emotion as he was sentenced in a courtroom less than two weeks after a jury found him guilty of murder in the slaying of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago during a robbery attempt.

"His first word was never heard. His first sentence was never said," Sherry West, the baby's mother, said through tears on the witness stand as she read a statement made to rhyme like a poem or a nursery rhyme. "He never got to sleep in a toddler bed."

The baby was in his stroller and out for a walk with his mother when he was shot between the eyes on 21 March in the Georgia coastal city of Brunswick. West and a younger teenager charged as an accomplice testified at trial that Elkins killed the baby after his mother refused to give up her purse.

Elkins was spared the death penalty because the killing occurred when he was 17, which the US Supreme Court has ruled is too young to face capital punishment. Under Georgia law, the only possible punishments for Elkins were life with or without a chance of parole.

But Elkins' defence attorneys told Judge Stephen Kelley that life without parole was too harsh for such a young defendant. They introduced court documents from the past seven years showing Elkins had been neglected by a mother who struggled with drug abuse and sometimes left him home alone without food.

The judge not only gave Elkins the maximum possible punishment for his murder conviction, but also sentenced him to 105 additional years in prison for other counts including aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery. That included 30 years for shooting and wounding a pastor outside his church 10 days before the baby was killed.

"We're definitely disappointed with the ruling," defence attorney Kevin Gough said as he left Glynn County Superior Court. "Life without parole for a juvenile, our position remains, is cruel and unusual punishment."

Gough said he plans to appeal both the verdict and the sentence. Elkins would have been eligible for parole in 30 years had that been allowed as part of his sentence.

Ultimately the judge sided with prosecutors who urged him to consider the brutal circumstances of the crime and that Elkins escaped facing the death penalty only because he shot the baby a few months shy of his 18th birthday.

Aimed between the eyes

"He aimed that gun right between that baby's eyes and shot that baby," District Attorney Jackie Johnson said. "I don't know of a more inhumane act or wantonly vile act ... than to aim a gun at a sleeping baby in a stroller and take that baby's life."

At trial, prosecutors had said West was pushing her son in his stroller home that March day from a post office when two teenagers approached her, blocks from her apartment.

Dominique Lang, 15, testified at trial he was with Elkins when the older teen pulled a gun and demanded West's purse. When she refused, Lang said, Elkins twice threatened her baby and counted down from five.

West testified she pleaded with Elkins that she had no money and tried to cover her child with her arms as the gunman fired a warning shot, fired a bullet into her leg and then shot the baby.

Police recovered a .22-caliber revolver from a pond, and prosecutors said it matched the gun used in the killing.

Lang also faces murder charges. No trial date has been set and it's unknown how his co-operation in the Elkins prosecution might affect his case.

- AP
Read more on:    us
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The virtual world can be very tempting to escape into but focus on also being present and keeping your feet anchored in reality....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.