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Jury deliberating in Brunswick baby murder trial

5:15 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Defense in Brunswick baby death trial attacking mom

  • Sherry West, victim's mother
  • Defense psychologist Dr. Heather Kleider of GSU
  • Still photo from police video interview with Sherry West
  • Witness Argie Brooks takes the stand.
  • Louis Santiago, victim's father
  • Murder victim, Antonio Santiago, 13 months

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The jury is now deliberating in the Brunswick baby murder trial.

Neither defendant, De'Marquise Elkins, 18, nor his mother, Karimah Elkins, 36, took the witness stand.

The teen is accused of wounding Sherry West and shooting her 13-month-old son, Antonio Santiago, between the eyes while he was sleeping in his stroller during a robbery last March.

His mother is accused of tampering with evidence for trying to throw away the pistol used in the shooting.

Defense attorneys spent most of the day trying to destroy the credibility of the child's mother.

MORE | Complete coverage of Brunswick baby death trial

They claim Sherry West mistakenly identified 18-year-old Elkins as the gunman who shot her twice and killed her 13-month-old son last March.

PHOTOS | Trial of De'Marquise Elkins

The defense played a police video of the mother's interrogation hours after the shooting.

At one point in the video, a police detective tried to double-check West's story about the attack by suggesting there might be surveillance video that didn't show any young black males anywhere near the crime.

Even though the surveillance video didn't really exist, the detective was trying to find out if West was in any way involved herself.

"Look, I'm not afraid so, you know, nobody's gonna tell me I did something I didn't do," she replied to the detective.

The defense then called Georgia State University Psychology Professor Dr. Heather Kleider to suggest West may have identified the wrong gunman.

Kleider said victims of such trauma usually focus on the weapon pointed at them more than on the face of their attacker.

She said in her opinion, the video of the police interrogation showed detectives trying to influence West's identification of Elkins.

"She never at any point in time, during what I saw, said, 'this is the person; I'm absolutely sure'," Kleider testified.

The defense also called Argie Brooks to the stand to try and attack his credibility as the person who first led police to suspect Elkins.

Facing unrelated armed robbery charges himself, Brooks admitted receiving $2,000 in reward money from Brunswick police, who still owe him $8,000 more, assuming Elkins is convicted.

The defense accused Brooks of making a deal with the state, but he denied it saying he only came forward to "do the right thing".

He called the reward "help money", not "snitch money".

"It would be help money if it was done to you," Brooks said to defense attorney Kevin Gough.

"I would be please help me; it'd be helping it, but now that it's on the other end, it's snitch money; that's not right," Brooks added.

One of the last witnesses was the child's father, Louis Santiago.

The defense tried to suggest Santiago may have been involved and tried to frame Elkins for a similar robbery and shooting of a minister ten days before his son's murder.

"Did you or did you not call (pastor) Wilfredo Calix Flores for the purpose of making sure he identified Markey Elkins?" defense attorney Gough asked.

"No, sir; no, sir!" the father replied.

The defense did get Santiago to admit he is doing jail time for unrelated stalking and fraud charges.

The trial was moved to Cobb County because of extensive publicity in the Brunswick area. 

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