Baby-killing trial update


The Brunswick News

MARIETTA – A Brunswick teenager testified Tuesday that De’Marquise Elkins threatened him to keep him quiet after a robbery March 11 in the 1700 block of Norwich Street, 10 days before Elkins is accused of shooting and killing 13-month-old Antonio Santiago.

Dont’e Jackson, 17, testified Tuesday in Glynn County Superior Court, sitting in Cobb County on a change of venue, that he twice told police a false story about where he was when Pastor Wilfredo Calix-Flores was shot in his left arm, because he feared for his life.

“I was scared,” Jackson told Assistant Public Defender Ashley Wood, one of three defense lawyers for Elkins on charges he murdered Antonio and wounded the infant’s mother during a robbery attempt March 21, during cross examination. “I saw him shoot somebody.”

According to Jackson, he met Elkins and a youth identified as T.J. at the basketball courts at McIntyre Court apartments the evening of March 11 and decided to go to a convenience store for a sports drink.

The three piled onto T.J.’s bicycle and rode up an alley behind Norwich Street to the area around Calix-Flores’ church. There they saw Calix-Flores and his friend, Clever Jiminez, working on a construction project behind Upper Room Ministry.

“The next thing I know, I hear someone say, ‘Give it up,’” Jackson testified during direct examination by Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson. “I turned around and De’Marquise had a gun.”

Jackson said he and T.J. did not know the robbery would occur and, before they went one way and Elkins went another, he said Elkins told them if they said anything, “Something bad is going to happen to you.”

The first two times Jackson talked to police about the robbery, he lied to them, “because my life was threatened,” he said.

He said he finally told the truth after he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and armed robbery for his alleged role in the crime, because he said he felt protected being off the streets.

Wood grilled him for several minutes on why he changed his story, implying that he told the final version to strike a deal for leniency with police and prosecutors.

“Somebody threatened me, that is the only reason I lied,” Jackson answered Wood numerous times.

Calix-Flores seemed uncomfortable testifying about an incident he said had a powerful effect on him.

Speaking through an interpreter, Calix-Flores explained about how he had identified Elkins on March 22, the day after Elkins is accused of killing Antonio.

Calix-Flores stood up at the witness stand and pointed to the places where a bullet entered and exited his left arm and detailed what happened to him.

He remembered working behind the church when three black youths asked for water. When he and his friend, Clever Jiminez, said they did not have any, one of the youths pulled a gun from his waistband and demanded money, Claix-Flores testified.

Claix-Flores, Jiminez and Jackson all pointed out Elkins in the courtroom, but Wood questioned the validity of their identifications to police, saying that police may have suggested that Elkins was the person who robbed them.

Calix-Flores disputed her claim. “When he showed me the photographs, I had to be sure I had the right person, and that is when I picked number six,” he said of identifying Elkins in a photo line up.

Pick up Wednesday's issue of The Brunswick News for a full account of the court proceedings.