BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- A judge has ruled that profane and possibly incriminating statements De’Marquise Elkins made to police can be used when he is tried for murder in the March death of a 13-month-old boy.
He, his mother Karimah Elkins and sister Sabrina Elkins are to go on trial Aug. 19 in Cobb County. De’Marquise Elkins is charged with murder, aggravated assault, attempted robbery and other charges in a March 21 assault in which Antonio Santiago was shot in the face and killed as he sat in a stroller his mother, Sherry West, was pushing on a sidewalk near their home. West was shot in the leg.
An indictment charging the two women with tampering with evidence asserts they threw the .22-caliber revolver used to kill Antonio and wound his mother into a marsh pond north of Brunswick. Karimah Elkins is also charged with providing a false alibi for her son as is her sister, Katrian Elkins, who will be tried separately.
Presiding Judge Stephen Kelley held two days of hearings on motions on evidence and other matters in advance of the trial.
Glynn County detective Roderic Nohilly said he and a couple of other officers were walking Elkins down a hall after interrogating him the day after the slaying. As they walked, Elkins kept looking back at the officers and then made a “spontaneous utterance.”
“He said - his words - ‘Y’all ain’t got ___ on me. Y’all ain’t got no gun. Y’all ain’t got no fingerprints. All y’all got is a ____ acquittal,’’’ Nohilly testified.
When an investigator smiled at him, Elkins asked, “Oh. Got the gun?”
Elkins’ lawyers argued that police could not legally continue questioning or talking to Elkins because he had invoked his right to have an attorney present.
The lawyers also asserted Elkins, who was 17 at the time, didn’t understand his rights which was evident because he kept saying he wanted to talk with his aunt who was his guardian.
Nohilly also testified that Elkins believed he was still a juvenile and that police couldn’t talk with him unless his aunt, who was his guardian, was present.
At 17, he was an adult under Georgia law and could make his own decisions about getting a lawyer.
Kelley disagreed and said the prosecution could use the statement at trial.
Kelley, who had viewed a videotape of the interview, said the statements were freely and voluntarily given and not in response to questions.
“They were talking to him, reading him his rights, [saying] put your hands behind your back,’’ Kelley said.
During the defense’s challenge of search warrants and the propriety of De’Marquise Elkins’ arrest, information provided by his co-defendant, Dominique Lang, were introduced in support of the search warrants.
Once he was identified and questioned after the March 21 shooting, Dominique Lang said that he had been with Elkins, Lt. Tom Jump testified about information given to other officers.
Lang said that on the day Antonio was slain, he was in the Dixville area with an older boy whom he identified as ‘Marquise who he said was wearing a red shirt. West also said the boy who shot her was wearing a red shirt.
Lang told investigators that De’Marquise had a gun and said he wanted to rob someone, Jump testified.
They approached a woman pushing a stroller and tried to rob her, Jump said of Lang’s statement.
“During the robbery, I was told Lang had said, ‘Marquise had pulled the handgun, shot the baby and shot the woman,’’ Jump said.
Lang told officers they had fled to Elkins’ grandmother’s house in the 1000 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard, and De’Marquise got a ride from there from a woman, Jump said.
The house is about a half dozen blocks east of the spot on the city sidewalk where Antonio West was slain.
The woman drove Elkins north to his aunt Katrina Elkins’ house at 1602 1/2 Martin Luther King Boulevard, and the driver later told investigators that during the ride he had ducked down in her back seat as if he were hiding, Jump said.
Glynn County patrol officer David E. Haney testified that he had driven Elkins to the county police station after Jump arrested him. In searching Elkins before putting him in his patrol car, Haney said he found two bullets, that he believed were .22 caliber rounds.
The indictment says the gun used to kill Antonio Santiago and to wound his mother was a .22 caliber revolver.
Kelley has made a number of rulings on the motions from the bench, but said he will issue written orders on all of them.