Cobb County jury sworn in for high profile Brunswick baby murder trial | News
MARIETTA, Ga. -- The murder trial of 18-year-old DeMarquise Elkins was moved from Brunswick to Cobb County because of overwhelming publicity about the crime.
COMPLETE COVERAGE | Brunswick baby shooting
He's accused of shooting 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in the face while the toddler was in its stroller and wounding the child's mother, Sherry West, when she refused to hand over money during a robbery last March.
His mother, Karimah Elkins, is also on trial, charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly trying to get rid of the pistol used in the killing.
As potential Cobb County jurors have been questioned since Monday, most of them also said they'd heard about the case.
Tuesday morning Elkins' public defender asked Judge Stephen Kelley to throw out the jury pool and delay the trial.
Not because of how many had heard about the case, but because he claimed the pool was racially unbalanced.
Elkins and a 15-year-old codefendant, who will be tried later, are both African-American.
The toddler victim in the case had a Hispanic father and his mother is white.
Defense attorney Kevin Gough claimed there were too few African-American males in the Cobb jury pool.
The judge denied the defense jury challenge Monday evening, but allowed them to put up a mathematician to try and prove their case Tuesday.
Jeffrey Martin testified the fact that so few African-Americans males ended up on the jury pool was probably not random.
Even so, Judge Kelley again refused the defense request challenging the jury makeup.
Just after lunch he swore in 12 jurors and three alternates.
The jury makeup is 9 white males, 4 white females and 2 black females.
The jurors will not know which of them are the 3 alternates until they begin deliberations.
During her opening statement, prosecutor Jackie Johnson said her evidence will prove that DeMarquise Elkins not only shot and killed 13-month-old Antonio Santiago and wounded his mother, but that he also shot a man ten days earlier in a similar armed robbery.
She said the best evidence will come from 15-year-old Dominique Lang, who admitted being with Elkins when the toddler died and who will be tried separately later.
"I expect Dominique Lang will tell you what happened at that time is that DeMarquise pulled out a gun, attempted to rob Sherry, shot her and shot the baby," she told the jury.
Jackson said Lang's testimony will closely match the wounded mother's account.
But in his opening statement, defense attorney Jonathan Lockwood claimed other evidence will prove that accomplice Lang is a liar.
He also suggested the dead toddler's parents may have had something to do with their child's violent death instead of his client.
"You will see that the test results from both Louis Santiago and Sherry West show gunshot residue on both of their hands," Lockwood told the jury.
He also claimed Sherry West called to claim a $5,000 life insurance policy on her child within 24 hours of his death.