Elkins v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
In 2013, Appellant De’Marquise Elkins was convicted of malice murder and other crimes in connection with the shooting death of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago and the shooting of the baby’s mother, Sherry West, as well as the shooting ten days earlier of Pastor Wilfredo Calix-Flores behind his church. The trial court sentenced Appellant, who was 17 years old at the time of the crimes, to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole (“LWOP”) for the baby’s murder and consecutive terms of years for all but one of his other convictions. Appellant argued on appeal, among other things, that the trial court violated his constitutional rights by preventing him from showing that someone else committed the crimes; that he was deprived of a fair trial and the presumption of innocence when the jury heard that he had a juvenile criminal record; and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded the evidence presented at trial was legally sufficient to support Appellant’s convictions; the trial court did not violate Appellant’s constitutional rights by preventing him from showing that someone else committed the crimes; he was not deprived of a fair trial or the presumption of innocence by a fleeting reference at trial to a “criminal juvenile report;” and his claims of ineffective assistance related to his trial counsel were waived. One claim of ineffective assistance, which related to his motion-for-new-trial counsel, was not waived, however, and the Court remanded for an evidentiary hearing and findings of fact on that claim.