The first trial in the shooting death of a 13-month-old Brunswick boy will begin Monday, but some lawyers say starting a murder trial less than six months after an incident seems very rushed.
De'Marquise Elkins, 18, is one of two teens accused of killing Antonio Santiago in March while the child's mother was walking him down the street in a stroller. Dominique Lang, 15, is also charged with murder.
Five people were arrested in the early days of this case – all related to the shooting, or to covering up the shooting.
T he trial of Elkins involves plenty of witnesses and seems sure to have fingers pointed at other possible motives and suspects.
No matter how "cut and dry" starting a murder trial, less than six months after an incident, seems very rushed to local lawyers.
Jacksonville defense attorney Dexter Davis said he can see both sides to this case scheduled for trial starting Monday in Marietta, Ga.
The killing of the toddler garnered so much attention, defense lawyers asked that the case be moved out of Glynn County. Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley agreed to move the trial to Cobb County.
"If the defense thinks they have a great case, it may benefit them to make the state try and prove their case as soon as possible," Davis said. "I guess they're blaming it on the father, perhaps, of the kid. Perhaps the mother, and for a kid to have an insurance policy at that age. Some may find that unusual."
Santiago's father, Louis Santiago, is now in custody facing an aggravated stalking charge, based on complaints from the baby's mother, Sherry West.
Lawyers say West and Louis Santiago both tested positive for gunshot residue. Elkins did not.
Davis guesses the defense may want Santiago to appear in court now, not later.
"Why wait to have him testify when he's out of jail, versus having him testify while he's in jail, in shackles, to testify before a jury," said Davis.
Jury selection in the case begins Monday. Channel 4's Tim Pulliam will be in the courtroom and provide updates throughout the trial.