Valdosta Daily Times

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August 22, 2013

Teen co-defendant questioned in slain baby case

MARIETTA, Ga. — The 15-year-old co-defendant of a man accused of fatally shooting a baby boy in his stroller was questioned in front of a judge Wednesday and identified De’Marquise Elkins, 18, as the shooter. The younger man maintained he had no involvement in the boy’s death.

Dominique Lang, 15, was questioned in front of a judge without a jury present and recreated the scene that led up to the fatal shooting of 13-month old Antonio Santiago. Authorities have said Lang and Dominique Elkins targeted the boy’s mother, Sherry West, in an attempted armed robbery in which West was also injured.

Lang told the court that he was behind Elkins when he approached a woman with a stroller and asked for her purse.

“He slapped her with the gun,” Lang told the judge, adding that Elkins then threatened the boy in his stroller. “He came around the stroller and she came around the other way and he shot,” Lang said. “I was in panic mode. I didn’t move.”

The Marietta Daily Journal reports West is also expected to testify in the trial, and that she has already identified Elkins as the shooter.

The Florida-Times Union reports the judge held a hearing without the jury present on a defense motion to bar jurors from hearing that Lang identified Elkins as the shooter to police. The judge ruled in favor of hearing Lang identify the suspect.

In court, public defender Kevin Gough played a video of Lang’s interview the day of the March 21 shooting in which he quickly identified Elkins as the gunman. When asked why he pointed out Elkins so quickly, Lang said it was because he wanted to go home.

“I was scared they were going to get me for something I didn’t do,” he said. Lang has also been charged with murder in the case.

Brunswick police Det. Angela Smith also took the stand in front of the judge and jury, and Gough questioned her for hours about the department’s investigation into the case.

Smith said West looked at a photo lineup for about 20 seconds before identifying Elkins as the shooter.

“She said ‘I know that was him,”’ Smith said. “I will never forget those bushy eyebrows.” Smith added that she’s rarely seen anyone identify a suspect so quickly.

Gough questioned the department’s investigation into the shooting, along with the credibility of Santiago’s mother. He accused West of providing shaky statements to police after the shooting and said she had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, paranoia, post-traumatic stress disorder and had been prescribed Vicodin after a car accident.

Police didn’t investigate whether West had taken any medication before the shooting, and Gough maintained the woman was never adequately considered as a suspect in her son’s death.

Police also didn’t search for a weapon when they arrived at the scene, Gough said.

“My thought was, ‘I have an unresponsive child on the ground that I gave my attention to,”’ Smith told him.

Lang’s 15-year-old cousin also took the stand Wednesday and told defense attorney Jonathan Lockwood that he saw his cousin with Elkins at his grandmother’s house the day of the shooting. However, attorneys questioned the teen’s credibility when he told the jury he didn’t go to school because he had nothing to wear and didn’t clearly answer how he arrived at his grandmother’s home.

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