Baby shooting suspects won't face death penalty

8:29 AM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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Antonio Santiago (First Coast News)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Less than one week after the fatal shooting of Antonio Santiago the two teen suspects at the center of the case have been indicted.

Documents say 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins shot the 13-month-old baby in the face with a .22 caliber revolver while trying to rob the baby's mother.

District Attorney Jackie Johnson of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit said in a statement, "The law does not allow the death penalty to be sought against the defendants charged with murder in this case because both defendants were under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the offense."

Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Kuritz explained further, "The Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court not too long ago decided you cannot sentence a juvenile to death or mandatory life.  So, while I expect a large number of years it will not be life or death."

In a Wednesday media update, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering explained investigators are trying to determine if the case is gang related. The 17 year old accused murder posted statements and pictures on social media suggesting he was affiliated with the street gang the Bloods.

Kuritz said social media is often used in investigations, by law enforcement and defense attorneys. Social media allows them to see what suspects are really doing and really saying.

"I've seen several times with social media where people who are convicted felons holding guns, holding drugs, and carrying fire arms and they're posting pictures proudly on websites or social media, only to find out it's going to bite them in the long run."

Kuritz added that pictures and tattoos have helped law enforcement add RICO, or Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations charges in cases similar to this.

"They're all doing something individual but at the end of the day you can tie them all together, at the end of the day I would not be surprised to see that in this case."

Elkins' mother and sister were charged with trying to dispose of the gun believed to be the murder weapon. Elkins is currently behind bars at the Glynn County Detention Center.

(First Coast News, Jacksonville, Fla.)

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