The shooting death of little Antonio Santiago has unearthed questions as to who really took the life of the innocent baby. Santiago was killed in Brunswick, Ga. in March allegedly while his mother, Sherry West, was pushing him in a stroller.
De’Marquise Elkins, 17, was one of two youngsters arrested for the murder, which West says was a robbery attempt. Elkins mom and aunt were arrested for lying to police about his whereabouts on the day of the crime. His grandmother told TheGrio that she is “praying” for a “fair trial.”
Elkins and second suspect, Dominique Lang, 15, were busted within days of the tragedy, however holes in Wests’s story and inconsistencies in crime scene evidence, point to her potential involvement. After the shooting, West and Antonio’s father, Louis Santiago had gun residue on their hands. Both West and the infant were shot, which would answer why the substance was found on her but not Louis. According to a state forensic report, the finding supports the “possibility that [Louis Santiago] discharged a firearm, was in close proximity to a firearm upon discharge, or came in contact with an item whose surface bears GSR [gunshot reside].”
Louis is in jail for a separate stalking offense and probation violation. West says the child’s father accused her of killing their baby, and claims he was at WalMart at the time of the shooting. Sources say the former couple has a history of violence.
Meanwhile, West’s own daughter Ashley Glassey questioned her involvement in the one-year-old’s death. “She changed her story as far as she told me that the baby was shot first and then she told that she was shot first.” Glassey explained in an interview. West lost custody of 21-year-old Glassey when she was only 8. Glassey says her mother is bipolar, exhibits bouts of schizophrenic behavior and immediately asked “how soon” she would receive a life insurance payout for the baby.
Although she hasn’t been named as a suspect, the idea of West (a White woman) pegging things on Black suspects isn’t far-fetched. As TheGrio points out, in 1995 Susan Smith famously blamed a Black man for kidnapping her two children. Smith later confessed to purposely driving her car into a river, drowning her sons.
Elkins and Lang’s trials have been moved 300 miles from the crime scene to Marietta, Ga to curb some of the media attention. The racial makeup (Black suspects, and a half-White victim) drew comparisons to George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin. Since Zimmerman’s acquittal, several cases involving Black and White suspects have raised questions about racially disproportion outcomes within the legal system.
Zimmerman juror, B29 said he “got away with murder” because no sufficient evidence could be found for a second-degree murder or manslaughter conviction. This may not be the case in Antonio’s death. “With this new evidence, people are unsure of whether these kids were involved, ” said Rev. Kenneth Adkins, pastor of a local church.
Adkins believes Zimmerman’s trial “opened up old wounds and simmering racial tension” in Brunswick.
There were no other eyewitnesses to the incident, with the exception of West’s account. Elkins maintains innocence, and is “doing as well as expected considering the situation,” a local revealed.
Lawyer Kevin Gough has faith in the legal system. “We remain confident that when the jurors hear all the evidence they will agree that Mr. Elkins is not guilty,” he said.
A trial date has been set for August 19.
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