A grand jury in Georgia indicts two teens for murder in the shooting death last week of a 13-month-old boy, the Glynn County district attorney announced Wednesday.
Because the defendants were younger than 18 when the killing took place, they cannot face the death penalty if convicted.
The indictment charges 17-year-old De’Marquise Elkins on 11 counts, including malice murder, in the slaying last Thursday of young Antonio Santiago a few blocks from his home in coastal Brunswick.
Another suspect, 15-year-old Dominique Lang, was indicted on seven counts including felony murder. But the indictment specifies that authorities believe it was Elkins who shot the child and wounded his mother with a .22-caliber revolver as the boys tried to steal money from her.
District Attorney Jackie Johnson of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit said in a statement Thursday she would not seek the death penalty against either suspect because Georgia law doesn’t allow capital punishment for defendants charged with crimes committed before they were 18. Both teens are charged as adults.
Elkins is now also charged with a second attempted robbery and shooting that happened 10 days before the baby was slain. On March 11, according to the indictment, Elkins tried to rob a person identified as Wilfredo Calix-Flores, pointing a gun at him while demanding his cell phone and wallet. Elkins shot Calix-Flores in the arm with the same caliber revolver used to kill the baby 10 days later, the indictment says. He is charged with attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
The few details contained in the indictment seem to back up the story the slain baby’s mother, Sherry West, has repeated to numerous reporters: She was pushing her baby in a stroller as she walked home from the post office when two youths approached asking for money. West says when she refused, the older teen drew a gun and shot her in the leg before shooting her son in the head.
Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering told reporters Wednesday before the indictment was returned that investigators believe the crime was random — something police hadn’t said previously.
“We’re comfortable now, six days into it, to say the location of the incident and the victim were random,” Doering said. “I don’t have any information that shows otherwise.”
The grand jury also indicted three of Elkins’ relatives on charges that they tried to help him after the shootings.