Three-fourths of the potential jurors interviewed Monday said they had heard of the allegations against the 18-year-old from Brunswick — that he had shot a baby in the face in an attempted robbery of the child’s mother. The baby died and the mother, also shot, was injured.
Ten of the 48 potential jurors interviewed Monday were excused.
Jury selection for the murder trial, moved to Cobb by Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley, began Monday morning and will continue into today, when all 13 selections likely will be made. Kelley decided to move the trial from Brunswick because of the extensive pre-trial media coverage about the slaying of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago on March 21.
Elkins and his mother, Karimah Elkins, 36, appeared in Cobb Superior Court on Monday on multiple charges.
Almost all of Monday’s proceedings consisted of Glynn County prosecutors and defense attorneys narrowing down a 48-juror panel to 12 members.
Questioning began around 10:15 a.m. after it took almost 20 minutes to get all of the jurors up to the courtroom.
“I’ve never had a traffic jam with the juries,” Judge Kelley said with a smile while waiting on jurors to be seated. “In the country counties, it’s not an issue.”
Both De’Marquise Elkins, who was dressed in a navy button-up shirt, tie and dark gray slacks, and his mother, who was wearing a black and white dress, were present throughout questioning.
The pair was separated by Karimah Elkins’ defense attorney Wrix McIlvaine and sat quietly throughout the entire process, with only a few glances in each other’s direction while they waited for attorneys to finish questioning.
Each candidate for the jury was asked to introduce themselves, say what they do for a living and whether or not they are married, what their spouse does career-wise and if they have any children.
Jurors were from all over Cobb County and all but about five said they have children. One said she was pregnant.
They were also asked if they had heard about the Elkins case, to which more than three-fourths of them said they had, and how they had heard about it — TV, radio, newspaper, around the dinner table or at work.
Many of them said they heard about it on their way to the courthouse Monday morning on the radio.
Three admitted to forming some type of opinion about Elkins’ guilt based on what they’d previously heard and read about the case.
Questioning will continue into this morning and opening arguments are expected to begin sometime later in the day.
It wasn’t just court personnel and the defendants in court Monday. There were also almost a dozen newspaper, online and broadcast media reporters covering the case from all over metro Atlanta and the Brunswick area.
De’Marquise Elkins was arrested March 22 on charges of murder, cruelty to children, aggravated assault, attempted armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime and has remained in the Glynn County Jail in Brunswick since then.
Karimah Elkins will be tried in Cobb County as well. She was arrested five days after her son was, on March 27, and is charged with tampering with evidence, possession of a weapon by a felon and a probation violation.
She is accused of trying to get rid of the .22 caliber revolver allegedly used by her son in the shooting.