A Georgia judge sentenced a teen who was convicted of fatally shooting a baby in a stroller to life in prison with no chance of parole.
De'Marquise Elkins, 18, found out he would be spending the rest of his life in jail less than two weeks after a jury found him guilty of murdering 13-month-old Antonio Santiago during a botched robbery attempt. The slain toddler’s mother, Sherry West, begged Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley to punish Elkins for taking away her baby.
“The love of my life was taken away, far away,” West said. “All I can do is cry and wonder when I’m going to die. His first word was never heard. His first sentence was never said. He never got to sleep in a toddler bed."
The details of what Elkins did are shocking.
"He aimed that gun right between that baby's eyes and shot that baby," said 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."
The only reason that Elkins was spared the death penalty was because the killing occurred when he was 17. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that is too young to face capital punishment. Although Elkins' defense attorneys argued that life without parole was too harsh, Judge Kelley gave Elkins the maximum possible punishment and sentenced him to 105 additional years in prison for counts including aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery, ABC News reported.
"We're definitely disappointed with the ruling," said defense attorney Kevin Gough. "Life without parole for a juvenile, our position remains, is cruel and unusual punishment." Gough plans to appeal both the verdict and the sentence.
If parole was part of Elkins sentence, he would have been eligible in 30 years.