The defense in the Brunswick baby killing trial, which has suggested “one or both parents” may have been involved n the slain toddler’s killing, was dealt a last-minute blow Thursday when the judge blocked questions about the father’s history of troubled relationships.
On Wednesday, two women formerly married to Louis Santiago testified they believed he had something to do with his son’s death. Both witnesses, who alleged they had been beaten and threatened by Santiago, said they called police to share their suspicions but never received a response.
Jurors didn’t hear that testimony, which was allowed in support of a defense motion to dismiss the indictment against De’Marquise Elkins, charged with fatally shooting 13-month-old Antonio Santiago between the eyes as he sat in his stroller following a botched robbery attempt. The baby’s mother, Sherry West, was shot in the leg following a struggle over her purse.
West’s daughter, Ashley Glassey, testified earlier that she contacted police on March 22 — the day after the shooting — regarding a phone conversation with her mother but never heard back.
“I told them I had a conversation with my mom and some of the things she told me didn’t add up. I needed to talk to a detective on the case,” Glassey, 22, testified.
Authorities “investigated this case with blinders (on) and failed to follow up on obvious leads,” defense attorney Kevin Gough said.
Kelley rejected the motion to dismiss.
On Thursday, the judge prohibited Gough from exploring the allegations made by Santiago’s former wives in the presence of jurors, saying they were irrelevant to the charges at hand.
“I’m not going to let you go into his marriages 20 years ago,” said Kelley.
Jurors did hear testimony from a Brunswick minister about Santiago’s behavior after learning his son had been killed.
Rev. Wright Culpepper, who was at the hospital along with West, described him as “unemotional. “
“There didn’t seem to be any warmth or compassion being exchanged between the two,” he said.
Santiago testified that when he saw his son in the hospital he clipped a lock of his hair which he keeps at his home, along with Antonio’s ashes.
Closing arguments are expected on Friday after two weeks of testimony. The trial was moved to Cobb County due to the extensive media coverage the case has received.
Karimah Elkins, accused of lying to police and throwing the .22-caliber handgun used to shoot the toddler into a saltwater pond north of Brunswick, is being tried alongside her 18-year-old son. Neither plans to testify.
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