The defense tried throughout the trial to prove that the investigation was flawed and that police refused to consider other leads or investigate further once they had Elkins in custody the day after the killing
“They finished their case in 25 hours. Everything else they did after that they just sugarcoated,” defense attorney Jonathan Lockwood said.
The prosecution’s witnesses — many with criminal histories and some drug users — lied repeatedly and changed their stories throughout the investigation, Lockwood said. The defense also said several law enforcement agents backtracked in their testimony to make sure what they were saying fit the state’s version of the story.
West made different identifications of the suspect and behaved strangely after the shooting, occasionally joking and laughing while being questioned by police and making other bizarre statements, Lockwood said. The baby’s father, Louis Santiago, was in the vicinity when the shooting happened and showed no warmth toward the child’s mother afterward, Lockwood said.
Lang testified that Elkins is the one who asked West for money and fired the shots, but admitted lying repeatedly, Lockwood said. And Lang’s cousin, Joe Lang, was in the area on the day of the shooting and fits the description of the shooter.
But police never really investigated the baby’s parents or the Lang cousins, Lockwood said.
The defense had strongly suggested in pretrial motions that the baby’s parents were the killers. Gough made several suggestions to the same effect during the trial. But much of his questioning that seemed to be heading in that direction — including attempts to bring up details about the backgrounds of both of the baby’s parents — was blocked by the judge after the prosecution objected.
Prosecutors said the defense presented a lot of theories and speculation but that the evidence and facts in the case proved Elkins’ guilt.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson showed jurors a string of still images pulled from video cameras around Brunswick during her closing argument. They all showed Elkins in specific locations at specific times the day of the shooting.
Johnson also reminded jurors of the testimony of two young women — one who said Elkins walked her to school at 8:45 a.m. the day of the shooting and another who said she spent the night before with Elkins and ate with him later that morning, which was backed up by video stills of them at a convenience store.
The only person whose story didn’t match the evidence in the case was Elkins, Johnson said.
Johnson also rejected the accusation that police stopped investigating once they arrested Elkins, noting that they pulled video from various cameras around town and went diving in a pond to recover the gun the following week.
Johnson also slammed the defense for picking on West and her behavior following the shooting: “Does anyone know what the protocol is for how you’re supposed to act when you’ve just watched your child get shot in the face?”