Baby-killing trial update
By MICHAEL HALL
The Brunswick News
MARIETTA – The prosecution rested this morning in the murder trial of De’Marquise Elkins after more testimony from Sherry West, the mother of murdered 13-month-old Antonio Santiago.
Later in the morning, West’s estranged daughter, Ashley Glassey, 21, testified that West called her the day Antonio was killed, asking about life insurance money.
West took the witness stand after Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley spoke to Brunswick Judicial Circuit Public Defender Kevin Gough, the court-appointed lawyer Elkins, and Assistant District Attorney Andrew Ekonomou about how Gough’s cross-examination of West would continue.
Tuesday evening, after West had been on the stand for several hours, Ekonomou asked Kelley to stop the cross-examination because he said Gough’s questions about West’s alleged past drug use, sexual activity involving drugs, New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services records and relationship with Antonio’s father, Louis Santiago, were irrelevant to the guilt or innocence of Elkins.
Wednesday morning, Kelley told Gough to limit his questions to statements West had made to police, in court, and only to matters pertaining directly to the murder of Antonio.
“You can ask her if she made a false statement to police. Whatever she answers you are going to have live with, under the law of Georgia,” Kelley told Gough about continuing to ask West about her past.
Once back on the witness stand, Gough pressed West about statements she made to reporters the day after the murder and made her watch a CNN interview to refresh her memory.
Assistant Public Defender Jonathan Lockwood stood by West as she watched and listened to the interview through headphones with the jury removed from the courtroom.
“In the course of that interview, you also said that hiding was not working for you,” Gough asked West, continuing his questioning pointing out what he called bizarre statements made by someone he said was mentally unstable on the day her baby was killed.
After Gough had finished, Ekonomou attempted to clear up a few points for the jury by asking West if she had blurred vision or memory problems from medication for her psychiatric issues. West answered, “No.”
With West’s testimony complete, the prosecution rested its case and the defense began calling witnesses.
First to the stand was Glassey, West’s daughter from New Jersey who is currently incarcerated on shoplifting charges.
Without being able to broach the subject of Glassey being removed from West by the state of New Jersey when she was 8 years old, Gough’s direct examination was short.
Glassey said she received a call from her mother that included a few discrepancies. Glassey said at one point West told her she was shot before Antonio, then later switched the timing of the two events.
She also said she called the Brunswick Police Department, but the call was never returned.
“First she told me that two kids came up to her and asked her for her money. She said she didn’t have any. She said that one kid shot Antonio then shot her. But then she changed her story,” Glassey said.
Glassey also said West asked about getting a check from a $5,000 Gerber Life Insurance Plan taken out on Antonio.
“She asked me how long I thought it would take to get the life insurance policy, the check that comes,” Glassey testified. “The whole conversation just didn’t settle well with me. My mind was racing the whole night.”
Linda Knight, a woman who lives at the intersection of London and Ellis Streets, testified she heard the shots, but did not see anyone running from the scene when she looked out a window.
Elkins, 18, is charged with murder, cruelty to children, attempted armed robbery and aggravated assault for allegedly shooting and killing Antonio and wounding West in an attack March 21 near the intersection of London and Ellis streets in the Old Town neighborhood of Brunswick.
Pick up Thursday's issue of The Brunswick News for a full account of the court proceedings.