14 Sep 2013

Baby killer sentenced to life in prison

6:12 am on 14 September 2013

A teenage robber in the United States who shot a baby dead after his mother refused to hand over her purse has been sentenced to prison for life without parole.

De'Marquise Elkins, 18, shot Antonio Santiago, who was in a pushchair, between the eyes on 21 March this year in Georgia.

Elkins was spared the death penalty as he was 17 at the time. He showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

The judge on Thursday handed down the maximum sentence. He imposed an additional 105 years in prison on other charges, including 30 years for shooting and wounding a pastor outside a church, 10 days before killing the baby.

The BBC reports the killing murder appalled the nation, forcing the trial to be moved more from

Brunswick, Georgia, to Atlanta.

A jury in Marietta, Georgia, last month found him guilty on 11 charges, including two of felony murder and one of malice murder.

Prosecutors said Elkins had approached Antonio, aged 13 months, and his mother, Sherry West, to demand cash.

When she refused, Elkins twice threatened the baby and counted down from five as Ms West pleaded that she had no money.

She tried to cover the child with her arms as the gunman fired a bullet into her leg and then shot Antonio.

The BBC reports defence lawyer Kevin Gough said afterwards that the sentence had been harsh.

"Life without parole for a juvenile, our position remains, is cruel and unusual punishment," he said.