MARIETTA, Ga. - The father of a baby who was fatally shot in his stroller in coastal Georgia took the stand Thursday, and the defense has rested in the trial of the man accused of pulling the trigger and killing the boy.
Louis Santiago, called to the stand by a defense attorney for De'Marquise Elkins, admitted he was a half-block away from the shooting when it happened, not at Walmart as he originally said.
Elkins is charged with murder in the March 21 killing of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in Brunswick.
Prosecutors say Elkins (pictured, below) shot Antonio during an attempted robbery. The boy's mother, Sherry West, was shot in the leg.
Georgia State University cognitive psychology professor Heather Kleider, an expert on eyewitness identification, testified earlier Thursday that the photo lineups shown to witnesses in the case of a baby slain in coastal Georgia were suggestive.
Kleider testified about photo lineups shown to West and to two other men that Elkins is accused of trying to rob.
Kleider said the lineup shown to West was suggestive because not all the men in the photos had the same physical characteristics and not all of them matched a description given by West. She said the lineups given to two men had similar problems.
The prosecution rested its case Wednesday morning, and lawyers for Elkins and his mother, Karimah, began trying to discredit the state's witnesses by calling their own.
After hours of testimony Wednesday, the defense began the day cross-examining West. She admitted that she picked Elkins' co-defendant Dominique Lang out of a photo lineup two weeks ago, saying he looked like the shooter.
When a defense motion to dismiss some of the counts Elkins is charged with was denied, Elkins' attorneys began presenting their case.21523266
West's 21-year-old daughter testified that her mother's account of the shooting didn't add up.
Ashley Glassey, who is estranged from the family and lives in New Jersey, said her mother called her the night of the shooting, but some of what she said didn't make sense. Glassey said in that first phone call, her mother asked her how long it would take to get the money from a life insurance policy she had on Antonio.
"She told me no, you're not coming down here, it's not safe," Glassey said when she asked about coming to Brunswick to pay her respects. "She was worried that they would hurt me."
Glassey also said that after talking to her mother, she was so concerned she called the Brunswick Police Department.
"I didn't actually get to speak to anyone on the case, but I had left my information and said you know who I was -- Sherry West's daughter," Glassey testified. "I actually said that I just wanted to talk about it, I wanted to talk about the details of the case because some things that she said to me just didn't add up, and I was very in the dark about the whole situation. But I'd felt like I got blown off because I didn't receive a phone call back or anything."
Glassey also said she was shocked when her mother insisted she not come to Brunswick after Antonio's death.
Late Wednesday, the defense played a video of West's interview by Brunswick police hours after the shooting. West was sometimes crying, sometimes laughing, sometimes going off on tangents about writing a book and finding love again.
The defense rested after lawyers for De'Marquise and Karimah Elkins said the two co-defendants would not testify. Closing arguments will begin Friday morning.
If convicted of murder, Elkins faces up to life in prison.
The trial is being held in Cobb County because of pretrial publicity.
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