Young man gets life with no parole for killing toddler in stroller

Sept. 12, 2013 at 10:32 PM
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BRUNSWICK, Ga., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A young Georgia man was sentenced Thursday to life with no parole plus 105 years for killing a toddler during an attempt to rob the boy's mother.

De'Marquise Elkins of Brunswick was spared a death sentence because he was 17 at the time of the killing, The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union reported. But the sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley, if it survives appeal, will keep the 18-year-old in prison until he dies.

Antonio Santiago, 13 months old, was shot between the eyes in March as he sat in his stroller. The killing roused racial tension in Brunswick and the trial was moved to Marietta, Ga., although the sentencing was in Brunswick, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.

Sherry West, Antonio's mother, gave an impact statement. She said Elkins threatened to kill the boy if she did not hand him her money and made good on the threat when she said she had none, the Times-Union said.

Antonio's father, Louis Santiago, who is in jail for a probation violation, was brought to the sentencing in handcuffs.

Kevin Gough and Ashley Wood, the public defenders representing Elkins, argued he should be given the possibility of parole. They said his youth means he can change over the coming decades.

Gough has already promised to appeal the conviction, decided two weeks ago by an all-white jury.

Elkins' mother, Karimah, is awaiting sentencing. She was tried with him and convicted of tampering with evidence. His sister and an aunt also face charges.

Dominique Lang, 15, who testified against Elkins, is also awaiting trial for his role in the robbery.

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