MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting a baby in coastal Georgia hid a gun at a relative’s apartment the day after the slaying, and his mother and sister came to retrieve the weapon later that day, a woman who lives in the home said Monday.
Danielle Williams testified that De’Marquise Elkins came to her home March 22, the day after 13-month-old Antonio Santiago was shot to death in his stroller, and asked if he could hide a gun under a loveseat. Later that day, Elkins’ mother and sister came by the apartment, took the gun from under the loveseat and left the home with it, Williams said.
Williams’ father-in-law, Ronald Elkins, who said he’s a third cousin of De’Marquise Elkins, testified that he was sleeping that morning and was awakened by noise downstairs. He went downstairs and found Karimah and Sabrina Elkins — De’Marquise Elkins’ mother and sister, respectively — lifting the loveseat and pulling out a gun.
Concerned for his young grandchild who lived in the home, Ronald Elkins took the gun from Karimah Elkins, brought it upstairs to empty the bullets from the chamber of the revolver, and returned the gun and bullets to Karimah Elkins.
Prosecutors say 18-year-old De’Marquise Elkins and an accomplice, 15-year-old Dominique Lang, stopped Antonio’s mother, Sherry West, as she returned home from the post office with her son in a stroller. Prosecutors say the older teen pointed a small .22-caliber revolver at West and demanded money. West did not immediately hand over her purse, and the child was shot. West was shot in her leg, and another bullet grazed her ear.
The killing in the port city of Brunswick drew national attention, and the trial was moved to the Atlanta suburb of Marietta owing to extensive publicity. Elkins faces life in prison if convicted of murder. At the time of the shooting he was 17, too young to face the death penalty if convicted under Georgia law.
Prosecutors have said information from Elkins’ mother and sister led investigators to a pond where they found the revolver. Karimah Elkins is standing trial alongside her son on charges of evidence tampering and lying to police. Elkins’ sister also was charged with evidence tampering.
Willie Merrell, who described himself as a good friend of Karimah Elkins, testified that he picked up Karimah and Sabrina Elkins the day after the shooting and took them to a fishing pond where he catches bass. Merrell went to fish while the women talked to each other, but it wasn’t a good fishing day, he said. At one point, the women were by the water’s edge. Merrell heard a splash but didn’t see anything, he testified.
A diver with the Emergency Management Agency and a police captain both testified that a small .22-caliber revolver with an empty chamber was pulled from that same fishing pond a few days later.
Prosecutors also called several witnesses to testify about De’Marquise Elkins’ whereabouts the morning of the shooting.
Prosecutors said Monday they expect to wrap up their case Tuesday, and West will likely testify before that happens. The defense attorneys for Karimah and De’Marquise Elkins said Monday they would need about two days to present their defense.
Lang took the stand last week and testified that De’Marquise Elkins twice counted down from five and threatened the baby before the deadly shot was fired. Lang saw Elkins fire one shot at the ground and another at West’s leg, and he heard a third shot but didn’t see Elkins shoot the baby, he testified.
Defense attorneys challenged Lang’s credibility, going through a transcript of what Lang told police the day after the shooting, pointing out some inconsistencies and getting the teen to admit to lying more than a dozen times.