The murder trial of 18-year-old De’Marquise Elkins (pictured left) took an interesting turn when the African-American teen’s public defender asked for a more racially diverse jury. Elkins is on trial in Cobb County, Ga., for the March murder of 13-month-old Antonio Angel Santiago (pictured center). Elkins is also charged with shooting the boy’s mother, Sherry West, in the leg, and for reportedly shooting a minister weeks before the killing of the toddler.
According to a report from First Coast News and other outlets, Elkins’ public defender balked at the racial imbalance of the jury during Day 1 of the selection on Monday and demanded that more Black persons and young people be part of the pool.
Because of the late arrival of potential African-American and young jurors, they were put on a “reserve” list.
“We believe that has an impact on the representation of African-American men,” said Kevin Gough, the Brunswick Judicial Circuit public defender representing Elkins. Gough later said there were 15 Black men in the reserve pool, along with several women.
Earlier today, jurors in the second day of the selection process were seated. In all, 10 of the newly selected 12 jurors are White with two Black women serving as alternates. The trial, which was moved to Cobb County Superior Court because of the intense media coverage in Glynn County courts, began with opening statements this afternoon.
Gough feels that his client will not receive a fair look by the White jurors, but Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley has given his final word regarding the selection.
Elkins’ mother (pictured right) is also on trial for tampering with evidence and attempting to provide her son with a false alibi.