Teenager convicted of baby murder
A teenager who shot a baby between the eyes in front of the child's mother during a robbery attempt in a coastal Georgia town faces life behind bars for murder.
Jurors in Marietta deliberated for about two hours before finding De'Marquise Elkins, 18, guilty of 11 counts, including two counts of felony murder and one count of malice murder for the March 21 killing of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago.
The man's mother, Karimah Elkins, who was on trial alongside him, was found guilty of tampering with evidence but acquitted of lying to police.
De'Marquise Elkins was 17 at the time of the shooting and too young to face the death penalty under Georgia law.
The baby's mother, Sherry West, told the court she was walking home from the post office with her son when a gunman demanding her bag shot her in the leg and shot Antonio in the face after she told him she had no money.
Prosecutors said Elkins and an accomplice, 15-year-old Dominique Lang, were the ones who stopped Ms West. Prosecutors say the older teenager pointed a small .22-calibre revolver at Ms West and demanded money. When she refused several times, Elkins fired a warning shot, shot Ms West in the leg and the baby between the eyes, prosecutors said.
The killing in the port city of Brunswick drew national attention and the trial was moved to the Atlanta suburb of Marietta because of extensive publicity locally.
Prosecutors have said information from Elkins' mother and sister led investigators to a pond where they found the revolver. Elkins' sister was also charged with evidence tampering.
Lang, who was a key prosecution witness in Elkins' trial, will be tried at a later date.
The defence tried throughout the trial to prove that the investigation was flawed and that police refused to consider other leads or investigate further once they had Elkins in custody the day after the killing. "They finished their case in 25 hours. Everything else they did after that they just sugarcoated," lawyer Jonathan Lockwood said.