MARIETTA, GA. -- A Brunswick teen accused of shooting a toddler to death on a city street taunted police over their lack of evidence, but his demeanor changed when he perceived they had located a gun, a Glynn County investigator testified Friday in his trial.
De’Marquise “Marky” Elkins is being tried for murder in the March 21 killing of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago during the botched robbery of his mother, Sherry West, who was shot in the leg. The trial is in Cobb County Superior Court because of the heavy news coverage in Glynn County.
Roderic Nohilly told the jury how Elkins claimed in a pre-arrest interrogation that he had nothing to do with the crime and was instead sleeping alone at his aunt’s home at the time Antonio was killed. The interrogation ended when Elkins said he wanted to call a lawyer.
Officers got an arrest warrant and, as they were handcuffing Elkins, he made what Nohilly described as a “spontaneous utterance.”
“He said, as he was walking out, ‘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 Elkins saw another detective smile he said, “Oh, got the gun?”
Before the jury entered the courtroom, Elkins’ lawyers argued Nohilly shouldn’t be allowed to repeat Elkins’ statements because he was under arrest and had said he wanted a lawyer. Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley already had ruled in a pretrial motions hearing earlier in the month that the statement was allowable. He stuck with that ruling Friday.
Before court recessed for lunch, Elkins’ defense lawyers asked for a mistrial when Wrix McIlvaine, who is representing Elkins’ mother Karimah, asked investigator Stephanie Oliver why she had been looking for Elkins at his mother’s home. Karimah Elkins, 36, is on trial for lying to police and evidence tampering.
In posing the question, McIlvaine asked Oliver about Karimah Elkins having lost custody of her son after suffering a stroke.
McIlvaine asked Oliver if the loss of custody was in “a juvenile report or something.”
The reference to a juvenile report damaged De’Marquise Elkins’ character before the jury, the defense argued.
Kelley denied the motion and instructed the jurors to disregard the question and remember that only witness testimony is evidence.
Sarah Peppers, a gunshot-residue analyst with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Atlanta crime lab, testified she found evidence of gunshot residue on swabs made of the hands of West and Antonio’s father, Louis Santiago.
De’Marquise Elkins’ lead attorney, Kevin Gough, repeatedly objected when District Attorney Jackie Johnson tried to ask Peppers about the possibility that Santiago could have gotten the residue on his hands by caressing West in the emergency room.
Ironically, Gough laid out the theory of West’s residue rubbing off on Santiago when he had Peppers read a GBI memo about it.
Peppers testified her analysis could not determine concretely whether the residue on the swabs was from their having fired a gun or having rubbed against something. She did say the appearance of few particles on Santiago suggests that he had not shot a gun recently.
Other witnesses were police officers describing their roles in the investigation which involved nearly every detective in the Brunswick and Glynn County departments.