Two Georgia teens charged in murder of baby
BRUNSWICK, Georgia (CNN) — Two teenage boys accused of shooting a baby in Brunswick, Georgia, made their first appearance in court on Monday, but offered nothing in the way of explaining the strange and tragic case.
A 15-year-old, who is not being identified because of his age, and 17-year-old De’Marquise Elkins were charged with murder last week.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit, his hands and feet shackled, the 15-year-old listened as Glynn County Judge Timothy Barton read his Miranda rights. Previously, the boy’s age was reported as 14.
Authorities have not yet said whether the teen will be considered as a juvenile or adult, and the teen did not enter a plea.
Asked if he had any questions, the teen told the judge, “no sir.”
Earlier, his mother, Brenda Moses, said her son was “just a witness,” and that “he didn’t do anything wrong.”
“My feelings go out to the mother, and the baby and my baby,” Moses said. “They’ve handled this investigation wrong, and the truth is going to come out.”
Elkins, the second teenager accused in the killing, also did not enter a plea when he appeared in court Monday.
He was dressed in regular clothes, but his hands and feet were handcuffed and he wore a belt shackle. Elkins’ attorney, Jonathan Lockwood, spoke for him during the appearance.
When he arrived in the courtroom, the teen turned to his mother, Karimah Elkins, and nodded.
At the end of the appearance, she said, “I love you, Marquise.”
She declined to speak with reporters.
‘Don’t kill my baby’
On Thursday, the slain infant’s mother, Sherry West, told police she was pushing her son in a stroller during the day when two males approached her.
“A boy approached me and told me he wanted my money, and I told him I didn’t have any money. 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,’ ” she told reporters.
One boy tried to grab her purse and opened fire when she tried to tell him she had no money, West said. The shot grazed her head, she said, adding the boy then shot her in the leg.
West continued, “And then, all of a sudden, he walked over and he shot my baby in the face.”
West said she tried to perform CPR on her son and that police took over when they arrived. “We lost him,” she said.
Immediately after the shooting, detectives searched her home for a gun and conducted gun residue tests on both her and the baby’s father, West said, adding that the tests were negative and the search did not turn up a gun.
Citing the ongoing investigation, police spokesman Todd Rhodes declined to comment when asked about the search and those tests.
This isn’t the first time West has lost a son to violence, she said Saturday.
Her 18-year-old son was stabbed to death in 2008 in New Jersey, she said.
“This is the second child that people have taken from me in a tragic way,” West said. “I’m so afraid to have any more babies now. I tried to raise really good kids in a wicked world.”
‘You killed an innocent human life’
Asked about the person who shot her son, Antonio, West replied: “I hate you, and I don’t forgive you.
“You killed an innocent human life,” she said. “I hope you die for it.”
The boy’s father has also been distraught, West said.
A private memorial service was held Friday for the baby, who was cremated, according to West. She said the family is working with the Catholic relief organization Society of St. Vincent de Paul to help with unforeseen expenses.
West said she put Antonio in a stroller Thursday because it was good exercise for her heart, adding that she was disabled from a car accident.
“I just took a walk with my baby,” she said. “I can’t believe that this would happen, and I left early in the morning. I thought, you know, that there would be less people on the road and I wouldn’t be in anybody’s way walking down that road.
“Apparently, either he targeted me, or I was just unfortunate,” she said.
As of Monday, authorities had not found the murder weapon.
But they were able to track down the two suspects and take them into custody, aided by a description from West and others, as well as a check of school attendance records to determine who was not in class Thursday.
911 calls reveal witnesses’ horror
Police in the coastal city of Brunswick released to CNN three recordings of 911 calls about Thursday’s shooting.
“A baby has been shot!” one woman said in a 911 call.
The exchange with the emergency operator was emotionally charged.
“Listen to me, ma’am! Is the baby breathing?” the operator replied.
“I don’t know,” the woman said.
She began to cry.
“Listen to me!” the operator said to the weeping woman. “We have people en route. Did you hear shots in the area?”
Yes, she heard shots, she said.
“Be calm,” the operator said. “How many shots did you hear?”
“I heard like three shots. And the baby has been shot in the head,” the woman said.
The woman was so distraught that she passed her cell phone to a man walking his dog.
“No, the baby is not breathing,” the man told the operator.
“The baby was shot in the head?” the operator continued.
“Yes, right between the eyes,” the man said, adding that he earlier heard a “small-caliber clap.”
As he spoke, sirens wailed as police arrived on the scene, and the man broke off the phone call.