MARIETTA, Ga. -- The jury in the Brunswick baby-killing case heard testimony today from a boy who was with the accused shooter at the scene, but he also acknowledged lying to police.
Earlier today, defense attorneys complained of threats to other witnesses and accused police of failing to investigate.
In his testimony, Dominique Lang, 14, pointed out De’Marquise Elkins, 18, across the courtroom as the one who fired the gun March 21 during a botched robbery that killed 13-month-old Antonio Santiago. The baby’s mother, Sherry West, was also shot in the leg and wounded in the ear.
Dominique said Elkins struck West with the revolver and then threatened the baby.
“He counted down five seconds. ... He was like 5, 4, 3, and she stopped him,” Dominique said, adding that the mother and Elkins then struggled over the purse while standing over the stroller Antonio was seated in.
Elkins threatened the baby again and counted down a second time, according to Dominique.
“She still refused to give him her purse,” he testified.
Dominique saw Elkins fire a shot into the ground and one into West’s thigh. The witness gestured toward the courtroom floor as he said Elkins pointed the gun either toward West’s stomach or at Antonio but said he didn’t see the third shot fired.
Dominique is also charged with the murder but will be tried separately from Elkins who is on trial in Cobb County Superior Court. The case was moved because of the amount of pre-trial news coverage in Brunswick.
Prosecutors have not given Dominique any promises that they would not use his testimony in Elkins’ trial against the boy in his own case. However, Dominique’s lawyer sat silently by as he testified.
A day earlier, Dominique testified in a hearing without the jury present, wearing a prison jumpsuit and shackles. Today, he was not shackled and wore slacks and a plaid, long-sleeved shirt.
In today’s cross examination, defense attorney Jonathan Lockwood got Dominique to admit to repeatedly lying to investigators when questioned the day after the murder, even muttering to himself in the interrogation room before officers arrived.
“That was you practicing the lies you were about to tell police?” Lockwood asked.
“Yes, sir,” Dominique replied.
The boy had originally denied involvement. Next, he said he hadn’t seen any of the shots fired.
When Lockwood pressed, Dominique acknowledged changing his story at the urging of a detective.
“He was pushing me to say that,” the witness said.
“So, if people push you to say things, you’ll lie. Is that right?” Lockwood asked.
“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.
Just before the lunch break, Lockwood wrapped up his cross examination.
“You’d have to agree that you’re not the most honest person,” the lawyer said.
“Yes, sir,” Dominique said.
Also today, Elkins’ lead attorney, Kevin Gough, announced he had filed a motion this morning for dismissal based on complaints from witnesses that they had been threatened by Antonio’s father, Louis Santiago.
Gough told Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley that two witnesses had come forward with complaints to the Glynn County Police Department but that no investigation was launched. Gough called that “outrageous misbehavior” by the government.
Kelley, though, said he had not had time to read the motion and suspected prosecutors had not either. The judge said a hearing could be held on that matter later, possibly Sunday evening.
District Attorney Jackie Johnson estimated that her witnesses will still be testifying through Monday afternoon before the defense begins presenting its case.
Also on trial with Elkins is his mother, Karimah Aisha Elkins, 36, who is charged with lying to police and disposing of the murder weapon.