MARIETTA, Ga. — Jury selection has begun in the much-hyped trial of a black Georgia teenager charged with fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in the face during an attempted street robbery in Brunswick, Ga.
It was determined that De’Marquise Elkins, 18, and his mother Karima Elkins, 36, would receive a fair trial in Brunswick. The judge ordered the trial to moved to suburban Atlanta, some 350 miles from the crime scene where Sherry West’s son, Antonio Santiago, was slain in his baby carriage in the coastal port city on the southeastern part of the state.
Karima Elkins, who is being tried at the same time as her son, is not suspected in taking part in the alleged murder. She was, however, charged with making false statements to investigative authorities and as well as tampering with evidence after the fact.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are now questioning potential jurors Monday at Cobb County Superior Court. It has not been determined how long jury selection will take.
Though it was assumed that the demographics would be more favorable to the defendants, there were only three African Americans among the jury pool of 48. None of the potential jurors were black males. Judge Stephen Kelly will not sequester the jury, who will be free to go home each night during the trial and on the weekends. Jurors were instructed not to watch any news on the case nor discuss the case with anyone. The judge told jurors to expect the trial to go as long as a week, perhaps a little longer.
The slaying of the infant Antonio Santiago immediately made national headlines. Prosecutors say Elkins and a 15-year-old accomplice were trying to rob the child’s mother March 21 and Elkins shot the toddler when she said she had no money. The defense counters that the mother shot the child for insurance money and then blamed the horrific crime on two innocent black teenagers, who were subsequently indicted even though there were no witnesses.