BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A Georgia teenager that was convicted of killing a sleeping infant this past spring as part of a robbery attempt has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
As previously reported, the incident occurred in March of this year as mother Sherry West was walking home from the Brunswick post office with her son Antonio, whom she pushed in a stroller.
“A boy approached me and told me he wanted my money, and I told him I didn’t have any money,” West told reporters. “And he said, ‘Give me your money or I’m going to kill you, and I’m going to shoot your baby and kill your baby.’ And I said, ‘I don’t have any money, and don’t kill my baby.’”
One of the two teens that approached then tried to grab her purse, but West reiterated that she was not carrying any money. Upon uttering the words, a gunshot rang out, grazing her in the head, just past her ear. The teenager then shot her a second time in the leg.
“I put my arms over my baby and he shoved me,” West explained. “And then he shot my baby right in the head.”
The mother stated that she tried to perform CPR on little Antonio, and when police arrived, they too attempted to revive the boy, but it was too late.
“I saw his lungs inflating, but he was not breathing and there was no pulse,” she said. “We lost him.”
West stated that the suspects ran when she began crying out for someone to help her.
“I screamed for help — for a neighbor to call police, and he ran off,” she explained. “He got scared that I screamed.”
Days later, suspects De’Marquis Elkins, 17, and Dominique Lang, 14, were taken into custody, and Elkins was charged with first-degree murder.
On Thursday, following a trial for Elkins and his mother, who was found guilty of tampering with evidence by attempting to dispose of the gun used in the crime, the teen, now 18, was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was spared from the death penalty since the crime occurred when he was 17.
However, Elkins’ attorney, public defender Kevin Gough, said that he will appeal the verdict and sentence. Gough told reporters that the composition of the jury, being all white, resulted in an unfair trial for the black teen. He also stated that he believed the sentence was “cruel and unusual punishment” as Elkins struggled with a difficult upbringing.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley, however, not only sentenced Elkins for the murder, but also for attempted robbery, as well as for an incident that took place days prior to the stroller shooting as Elkins is also suspected in shooting and injuring a pastor at his church.
Elkins’ accomplice, Dominique Lang, has not yet stood trial. He testified earlier this year against Elkins in court, stating that the teen had ordered the mother to give him her purse, and counted down from five when she would not comply.
“[My baby’s] first word was never heard. His first sentence was never said,” West read to the court, according to the Associated Press. “He never got to sleep in a toddler bed.”
“The love of my life was taken away, far away,” she said. “All I can do is cry and wonder when I’m going to die.”