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Defense argues jury makeup in stroller toddler slaying

Expert says lack of blacks on jury defy odds

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013 12:50 PM
Last updated 6:19 PM
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MARIETTA, Ga. — A statistician testified today that the odds are 200-to-1 of random jury selection resulting in no blacks to judge a Brunswick, Ga., man accused of shooting a toddler to death in his stroller.



The testimony of Jeffery Martin, an Atlanta statistician who frequently testifies for defendants, dominated the morning in the case against De’Marquise Elkins, 18.

“What the statistics are telling us is that there’s something other than random going on,” Martin said.

Elkins is being tried as an adult even though he was 17 when 13-month-old Antonio Angel Santiago was shot to death in March. He is charged with the crime.

“You simply can’t expect a young black man accused of murdering a young, white child anywhere in America not to object,” said Elkins’ attorney, Kevin Gough.

Gough told Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley that he didn’t know why procedures used in Cobb County to select jurors resulted in a jury that has no blacks. He argued that it is a violation of Elkins’ constitutional right.

The case was moved to Cobb County because of the amount of pretrial news coverage in Glynn County.

A Cobb jury administrator, Debra Mathews, testified that the three potential jurors who showed up late for duty Monday – one white man, a white woman and a black woman – were too late to be in the 48 available for Elkins’ trial. She also testified that people who had been allowed to miss jury duty for previous Cobb County trials were put to the head of the line for consideration in Elkins’ case, but she said she couldn’t say whether those people were more likely to be white.

Kelley has allowed Gough to make his case about the jury makeup, but he hasn’t been swayed, saying that a computer randomly picked who was called to jury duty and then shuffled those who showed up.

“It’s not even random once, but it’s random twice,” Kelley said.

Prosecutors say Elkins killed Antonio when he and co-defendant Dominique Lang, 14, came upon the child’s mother, Sherry West, pushing the stroller. They allege the shooting was because West refused when Elkins tried to rob her.

Lang is being tried separately because he is supposed to testify against Elkins. Being tried with Elkins is his mother, Karimah Aisha Elkins, 36, who is accused of hiding the .22-caliber gun used in the shooting and lying to the police.

Opening statements are expected this afternoon. The attorneys predicted the case would last all week and possibly part of next week.

Comments (18) Add comment
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Jake
34096
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Jake 08/20/13 - 01:08 pm
3
1
Hmmm.....

.....Cobb County is 62% white so I can see having a majority of whites on the jury. But no qualified people from other races?
Whoever is on the jury, and if this person is found guilty, then I hope he would be given the harshest penalty possible.

Graymare
3800
Points
Graymare 08/20/13 - 02:53 pm
3
1
What's a "stoller toddler" in the title of the article????

Gosh, can these folks ever use spellcheck? As far as the article goes, move it again so the accused can get an all black jury and see what happens.

rocklandwriter
52
Points
rocklandwriter 08/20/13 - 03:19 pm
6
0
Not about "color"; it is about "crime"

Why do we look at the color of a person's skin? If this person shot this toddler while sitting in a stroller (or anywhere for that matter), what does it matter what color his skin is or the color of the ones who listen to the testimony and decide. Come on people!!! This is 2013; we ALL live in this hodgepodge together - black, white, asian, etc... and if one of us, regardless of color, commits a crime; then 12 of us (regardless of color) listen to the evidence and state guilty or innocent. When will we ever learn to accept each other for who we are and not what we are. The only thing this jury needs to be concerned about is the FACTS, did he do it??? And the color of his skin will not give them that answer; and the color of their skin will not help them to decide; I somehow think if we all could look under our skin, we'd find most things to look the same.

Red Headed Step Child
4491
Points
Red Headed Step Child 08/20/13 - 03:28 pm
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0
With all the banter about

With all the banter about race, and how we shouldn't judge someone based on their color - why should it make a difference if there's not a black person on the jury? Isn't that judging someone based on their color?? To assume this guy won't get a fair trial unless there is black representation on the jury is ridiculous.

You beat me to the point @rocklandwriter!

CobaltGeorge
176049
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CobaltGeorge 08/20/13 - 03:37 pm
5
0
Lets Get Realistic Now

Do you really think for one minute that an all Black jury would render the same verdict as an all White jury.

If they did, they would face Al & Jessie leaving the court house along with a 1000 of their fellow citizens.

Red Headed Step Child
4491
Points
Red Headed Step Child 08/20/13 - 03:52 pm
4
0
@CobaltGeorge

You would hope so, but you're probably right. I would expect that a juror would listen to the facts of the case and not look at race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, etc. I'm beginning to realize that just isn't realistic...

ctchpln
352
Points
ctchpln 08/20/13 - 04:19 pm
5
0
jury

I am so sick of everything coming down to a black/white issue! This is ridiculous! Is the attorney implying that black people cannot see that killing is wrong? Or is the attorney implying that white people would convict a black person for any offense? It's stupid!! If the man pulled the trigger and the child was killed, he's guilty - period!

Pops
14464
Points
Pops 08/20/13 - 05:34 pm
6
0
Let me get this straight......

One of the big complaints from the race baiters in the Zimmerman trial was the lack of blacks on the jury. Zimmerman was described as a "white Hispanic" by these same people. Now, by their own logic, if a jury should be loaded with blacks for a trial of a white, shouldn't we load up a jury with whites for the trial of a black.......

JRC2024
10495
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JRC2024 08/20/13 - 09:19 pm
5
0
So what, what he is and how

So what, what he is and how old he is does not matter to me. He knew enough to rob and then kill. Give him what he deserves. Life in prison 6 times and then 25 years if you cannot execute.

Truth Matters
8084
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Truth Matters 08/21/13 - 07:26 am
1
4
I agree that color of the

I agree that color of the jurors should not matter; however, without knowing the racial background of most who post here, I can name 10 hands down that I seriously question if capable of suspending personal opinion and judging a case based purely on the evidence presented at trial.

In short, if I were ever on trial in this area, I would ask my attorney to pose certain usernames that post on the Augusta Chronicle site. If the potential juror acknowledge being that individual, I want him/her stricken from the pool.

Truth Matters
8084
Points
Truth Matters 08/21/13 - 07:30 am
0
4
To be clear, requesting to

To be clear, requesting to strike certain individuals would not be based on race but on attitudes and opinions expressed on this site. Because I don't know the race of the people here, and I really don't want or need to know it.

Truth Matters
8084
Points
Truth Matters 08/21/13 - 07:35 am
1
7
"If the man pulled the

"If the man pulled the trigger and the child was killed, he's guilty - period!"

Umm, Now where have I heard that before?

Truth Matters
8084
Points
Truth Matters 08/21/13 - 07:45 am
1
6
I am guessing the person

I am guessing the person giving a thumbs down is on my "strike list."

Be blessed, my friend.

Riverman1
93843
Points
Riverman1 08/21/13 - 07:58 am
7
0
Was the child punching them

Was the child punching them and beating their heads into the concrete?

seenitB4
97739
Points
seenitB4 08/21/13 - 08:52 am
3
0
Cobb county Ga

I think he will get a fair trial in this county...& I don't think we will have riots after the trial ..

seenitB4
97739
Points
seenitB4 08/21/13 - 08:57 am
4
0
Just to be clear

There are certain posters on this site that I wouldn't want on my jury either.
Kettle meet pot!

Bizkit
35613
Points
Bizkit 08/21/13 - 09:21 am
3
1
Seems the whole notion that a

Seems the whole notion that a black has to be on the jury is racist. Dang how circular. Id' like to know how the statistician came up with the odds. :Look a the odds to win the lottery. It doesn't mean someone won't win it.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 08/21/13 - 10:48 am
2
1
"I have a dream that my four
Unpublished

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

--Martin Luther King Jr.

Why is it that the very people who fought to make sure we all know that color doesn't matter, are now insisting that it does?

Truth Matters
8084
Points
Truth Matters 08/21/13 - 05:32 pm
0
0
Jury

@seenitb4---kettle meet pot

Hey, I hadn't thought about you. Thanks for jogging my memory.

Have a good day, my friend!

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