Georgia teen gets life for fatally shooting toddler in stroller

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 12, 2013 10:49 PM

(Reuters) - A teenager who fatally shot a toddler in a stroller as he attempted to rob the child's mother in a Georgia coastal town was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday, according to news reports.

A Glynn County Superior Court judge sentenced De'Marquise Elkins, 18, to life for shooting 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in a botched attempt to rob Sherry West, in Brunswick in March, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

A jury previously found Elkins guilty on 11 counts in the shooting, the newspaper reported, although he avoided the death penalty because he was 17 when the crime was committed.

The trial was moved to the Atlanta suburb of Marietta due to the wide publicity generated by the shooting. Racial tensions in Brunswick were stoked when an all-white, Marietta jury was selected to decide the fate of Elkins, who is black.

Public defender Kevin Gough said he would seek a new trial on appeal in which he will argue the racial composition of the jury was a factor in Elkins's conviction, the newspaper reported.

Attempts to reach both Gough and the Glynn County Attorney's office for comment were not successful late on Thursday.

Elkins's mother, Karimah Elkins, was tried alongside her son and found guilty on a charge of tampering with evidence. She has not yet been sentenced.

Dominique Lang, 15, awaits trial for what authorities said was his alleged role as an accomplice in the attempted robbery and shooting, according to the newspaper. Lang testified against Elkins during the trial.

(Reporting By Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Ken Wills)