What kind of monster could shoot a small child?

On the morning of 21 March 2013, Sherry West tucked her beloved boy Antonio into his pram and walked him around the usually quiet, tree-lined streets of their home in Brunswick, Georgia.

But at 9.15am, police received frantic calls from locals. Gunshots had been heard.  Officers found Sherry in the street, hysterical, wounded.

Antonio was dead. He’d been shot in the head while sleeping in his pram.

Sherry said she’d been jumped by two teens. One demanded money and pointed the gun in her face. When she said she had none, he’d shot her, before turning the gun on her defenceless baby.

A manhunt was launched. Not a single neighbour had seen anything.

Then, officers received a tip-off. Local youth, De’Marquise Elkins, or Marky, was arrested. From mugshots, Sherry identified him as the man.

'Marky' Elkins (Photo: PA Photos)

‘Marky’ Elkins (Photo: PA Photos)

Officers also arrested Dominique Lang, 14. Both were charged with murder. Elkins was also charged with child cruelty, attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault.

Police recovered a revolver, the alleged murder weapon from a pond. When Elkins was arrested, officers found two bullets in his trouser pocket.

Dominique Lang testifying in court. (Photo: PA Photos)

Dominique Lang testifying in court. (Photo: PA Photos)

In August 2013, De’Marquise Elkins went on trial. He denied all charges.

Lang agreed to give evidence against him. He said Elkins had demanded money from Sherry. When she refused, Elkins had pulled the trigger.

Lang denied knowing Elkins had a gun. Sherry had tried to protect her baby. But Elkins fired. One shot hit the ground, another bullet struck Sherry’s leg.

That’s when he aimed the gun between Antonio’s eyes and pulled the trigger. One final shot grazed Sherry’s ear. Then, apparently, the pair fled.

An open and shut case, surely? The defence claimed not.

They argued that both Sherry and Lang, the only witnesses, were ‘unreliable’.

That Sherry’s description of Elkins also matched one of Lang’s cousins. Could he be the shooter? Was Lang protecting a cousin and himself, too?

It was claimed that Sherry took medication for several mental illnesses, was bipolar, had borderline personality disorder and suffered paranoia

Grieving mum Sherry West. (Photo: PA Photos)

Grieving mum Sherry West. (Photo: PA Photos)

Next, her own daughter, Ashley Glassey, 21, gave damning evidence against her.

She said her mum’s story ‘didn’t add up’. She said Sherry phoned her at 8.30pm the day of the shooting.

‘She asked me how long I thought it would take to get the life-insurance policy…’ Ashley said. Sherry had taken out a $5,000 policy when Antonio was born.

The next suspect? The baby’s father – he’d been in the vicinity at the time. The couple’s relationship was apparently ‘troubled’.

His former fiancé once called the police, fearing for her life while she was pregnant. So what was the truth?

The verdict

PA Photos

PA Photos

Jurors found De’Marquise Elkins guilty of all charges including the murder of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago. He escaped the death penalty because of his age, but was jailed for life without parole.

Dominique Lang admitted criminal attempt to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years, with just two years of that spent in prison. Because Lang had been on remand since shortly after Antonio’s death, he’d already served his time by the 2015 hearing, and allowed to walk free from court to spend the remainder of his sentence on remand.


By Rachel Tompkins

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. The verdict
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