Georgia Teen Defense Team Claims Parents of Murdered Baby Are to Blame

Georgia Teen Defense Team Claims Parents of Murdered Baby Are to Blame

De’Marquise Elkins, 18, and Dominique Lang, 15, are accused of shooting one-year-old Antonio Santiago last March. But now their attorneys claim Santiago’s parents, Sherry West and Louis Santiago, are to blame for the murder for financial reasons. From The Daily Mail

‘Other evidence of record suggests Sherry West is mentally unstable, gave several inconsistent accounts of how the crime transpired, and had a financial interest in the death of her son in the form of an insurance policy,’ Gough said in a court motion filed August 5. Lang told authorities Elkins pulled the trigger. Elkins is facing life in prison. He was only 17-years-old at the time of shooting and will not face the death penalty.

West was walking the toddler down the street from their apartment. The teenagers accosted West and demanded money. She said she did not have any. When they threatened to shoot her baby she begged them not to kill him. The gunman then shot Santiago between the eyes with a .22 caliber. West was shot in the leg and a bullet grazed her ear.

Gerber Life sells insurance policies for children valued at $5,000 to $50,000. Attorneys claim they have strong evidence West had dealings with the company. Ashley Grassley, West’s 21-year-old daughter, told WLTV of Jacksonville, FL, her mother called her after the shooting and asked her when she thought the life insurance company will send her a check. Grassley is in jail for failing to appear in court in another case and told Elkins’ lawyers she did not want “to incriminate anyone.”

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) found gun residue on West and Santiago. He claimed he touched West’s injury before he was swabbed. West only pointed Elkins out of a lineup and police said the majority of evidence came from his family and Lang. From The Daily Mail:

Investigators have testified that Lang told police he and Elkins were trying to rob a woman pushing a baby in a stroller when Elkins pulled a gun and shot them both.

Lang’s aunt, Debra Obey, told police her nephew and Elkins came to her for a ride the day of the slaying. She said Elkins ducked down in the back seat of her car, as if he was hiding.

Four days after the shooting, police said information from Elkins’ mother and sister helped lead investigators to a pond where they found a .22-caliber revolver.

Both women were charged with evidence tampering. Elkins’ mother, Karimah Elkins, also was charged with lying to police. Prosecutors say Elkins’ mother and an aunt gave police conflicting alibis for his whereabouts at the time of the shooting. Karimah Elkins is scheduled to stand trial alongside her son.

West lost her 18-year-old son in 2008. He was stabbed to death in New Jersey. The police ruled the case self-defense and no charges were filed.