The accused accomplice to the Brunswick teen on trial for fatally shooting a 13-month-old between the eyes admitted on the stand Thursday he told “at least” 16 lies to police and family about what transpired that morning.
Dominique Lang, just 14 when the shooting occurred March 21, testified Glynn County police “pushed” him to say that he witnessed De’Marquise Elkins fire the bullet that killed Antonio Santiago. But the baby-faced 8th grader insisted Elkins was the killer, testifying he witnessed him count down from 5, gun pointed at the stroller, before firing the deadly bullet.
Elkins, 18, is charged with malice murder, felony murder, child cruelty, attempted armed robbery and multiple counts of aggravated assault in connection to the March 21 shooting. His mother, Karimah Elkins, is also on trial in Cobb County Superior Court for lying to police and attempting to hide the .22-caliber handgun used in the crime.
Lang testified that Elkins fired three bullets, aiming the first at the ground as he tried to get Antonio’s mother, Sherry West, to hand over her purse. She refused, and he shot her in the leg. Then, said Lang, he aimed the gun at Antonio.
“The baby was in the stroller screaming,” he said. Lang, now 15, is also charged with murder though no trial date has been set.
Elkins, Lang and West are the only people identified as eyewitnesses to the shooting. The defense argued Lang shouldn’t be believed.
“After police told you it was your last chance to tell the truth, you lied again,” defense attorney Jonathan Lockwood asked Lang, referring to his March 22 interview. Lang stared down the public defender before answering, “Yes.”
Even Glynn County police had their doubts, saying “eight of 10 statements (made by Lang) have been a freaking lie,” according to Karimah Elkins’ defense attorney Wrix McIlvaine.
Lang attempted to explain the discrepancies, saying he misled police because, “I was afraid they were going to get me for something I didn’t do.”
The defense argued Thursday that Lang continues to lie, alleging he made a deal with the state and tailored his testimony accordingly.
“Ain’t no deal or no promise,” said Lang, who became increasingly recalcitrant under tough questioning from the defense, refusing on more than one occasion to answer.
Lang, appearing in shackles, was preceded on the stand by his cousin, also 15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not publishing his name because he is a minor and has not been charged with any crime. Dominique Lang is being tried as an adult, as is Elkins, who was 17 at the time of the shooting.
Lang’s cousin also acknowledged his story has changed in the months since the crime. On Wednesday, he testified he saw Dominique and Elkins together at his grandmother’s house following the shooting.
Defense attorney Kevin Gough said Thursday that Lang’s cousin should have been considered the primary suspect all along.
Under questioning by McIlvaine, Lang testified his cousin wasn’t present when Antonio was killed — “Not before the crime, not during the crime,” he said.
The complicated case was moved to Cobb, 300 miles from Brunswick, following the subsequent arrests and extensive publicity that has divided people in the coastal town along racial and economic lines.
The prosecution said it is unlikely to conclude its case until Monday at the earliest. West is expected to be among the prosecution’s final witnesses.