Teen convicted of killing baby gets life without parole

Elkins appears in court during his trial in Georgia on Thursday.

Johnny Crawford, Associated Press

Elkins appears in court during his trial in Georgia on Thursday.

BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA A teen who fatally shot a baby in a stroller while attempting to rob the mother of the victim was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A judge sentenced 18-year-old De’Marquise Elkins the maxium penalty on Thursday after the jury found him guilty of murder in the death of a 13 month old baby, Antonio Santiago. The teen avoided the death penalty because he was a few months shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the murder.

Ms. West delivered a victim statement on Thursday about the loss of her son. According to the Associated Press, Ms. West said, “His first word was never heard. His first sentence was never said. He never got to sleep in a toddler bed.”

The boy was in a stroller and out for a walk with his mother, Sherry West, when he was shot in the head. The gunman demanded the mother’s cash. When she refused, Elkins twice threatened her baby and counted to five before killing him.

The case appalled the nation, and also sparked controversy on whether the sentence was appropriate for a juvenile. Public defender Kevin Gough said after the court decision, “Life without parole for a juvenile, our position remains, is cruel and unusual
punishment.” The legal team also added that Elkins had been neglected by a mother who struggles with drug addiction and sometimes left him home without food when Elkins was young.

“He aimed that gun right between that baby’s eyes and shot that baby. I don’t know of a more inhumane act or wantonly vile act … than to aim a gun at a sleeping baby in a stroller and take that baby’s life,” District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who represented Ms. West and her deceased son, said.

The judge not only gave Elkins the maximum possible punishment for his murder conviction, but also sentenced him to an additional 105  years for other crimes committed including aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery.

-Sourced from Associated Press