After only two hours of deliberation today, a Cobb County, Georgia jury found De’Marquise Elkins guilty of the murder of 13-month-old baby Antonio West. Elkins was also found guilty of shooting Antonio’s mother Sherry West in the leg, as well as with shooting a pastor during a similar robbery attempt 10 days earlier.
In case you aren’t up to date on the case, here’s what happened: On March 21, 2013, Antonio West was shot and killed in his stroller in Brunswick, Georgia. Sherry West reported to police that her son had been shot by one of two boys who approached her and demanded money. The alleged shooters are De’Marquise Elkins and Dominique Lang.
Elkins sentencing has not been announced yet. Since he was 17 at the time of the shooting he is not eligible for the death penalty, but it is likely that he will spend his life in prison.
Elkins accomplice, Dominique Lang, is set to go on trial at a later date.
Sherry West spoke briefly about the verdict today. She declined to talk extensively since she will likely be a witness in Lang’s trial in the coming weeks.
“I knew why I was there and I knew that I didn't have my baby anymore," she said. "In the beginning I was in shock. Now things are kind of really setting in. But I'm hanging in there."
West spent hours on the witness stand fielding questions from the defense during the trial.
"I was a little nervous up on the stand and just being asked so many personal questions by the defense attorney. It was embarrassing."
Defense Attorney Jonathan Lockwood tried unsuccessfully throughout the trial to demonstrate that the police investigation of Elkins was flawed. When Lockwood tried to imply that Sherry West or father Antonio Santiago may have played a role in the crime, he was blocked by the judge after objections from the prosecution.
Lockwood also accused the prosecution of choosing witnesses with histories of criminal and drug use. Furthermore, he said several law enforcement officials backtracked on their statements during the trial in order to stay consistent with the prosecutions narrative for the crime.
Lockwood’s attempts proved in vain, however, as jurors found the evidence against Elkins far more convincing than evidence to the contrary. Among the pieces of evidence that convinced jurors was the fact that Elkins mother, Karimah Elkins, threw the .22 revolver used to shoot West in a nearby saltwater lake.
"He and his mom hid the evidence; you lie; you hide; you run; you lie and hide and run 'cause you're guilty," Prosecutor Jackie Johnson said.
Johnson also criticized those who questioned Sherry West’s behavior in the days following the shooting.
"Does anyone know what the protocol is for how you're supposed to act when you've just watched your child get shot in the face?” she said.