BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A city official charged with interfering with the police investigation of a baby’s slaying in coastal Georgia made a mistake when he tried to help a teen suspect’s mother but believes he committed no crimes, his defense attorney said Friday.
The arrest of Brunswick city commissioner James Henry Brooks added another wrinkle to a case that was already tough to fathom. Authorities say a teenage gunman and his younger accomplice on March 21 tried to rob a woman pushing her 13-month-old baby in a stroller near their home. When Sherry West refused to give them money, police say, the gunman shot her in the leg before shooting her child in the face.
Brooks, who serves as mayor pro tem on the four-member city commission, was arrested Thursday on charges of obstructing a police officer and interfering with a witness. Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday and his administrative assistant said the chief planned to make no statements.
Brooks attorney Alan David Tucker told The Associated Press both charges stemmed from a single encounter Monday. Brooks had attended a court hearing for 17-year-old De’Marquise Elkins, the murder suspect accused of shooting the baby, and was accompanying the teen’s mother.
When a police officer tried to talk to Karimah Elkins after the hearing, Brooks stepped in between them, Tucker said.
“He told her, ‘Don’t make any statements until you have an attorney,'” Tucker said. “That’s what he did. I tell clients all the time don’t talk to the police without a lawyer and it’s not a crime.”
After Brooks spent the night in jail, a judge granted him $5,000 bond Friday.
Elkins’ family rushed to the suspect after he and another teen, 15-year-old Dominique Lang, were charged the day after the slaying. Elkins’ aunt insisted he was having breakfast at her house when the shooting occurred.
Tucker said the commissioner at first believed the family that police were rushing to prosecute Elkins and wanted to help. That was before the mom and De’Marquise Elkins‘ older sister, Sabrina Elkins, were charged with evidence tampering. Prosecutors say they tried to dispose of a .22-caliber revolver, which police suspect was used to shoot the baby, by dumping it in a saltwater pond where investigators found the weapon.
Elkins’ mother and his aunt, Katrina Elkins, have also been charged with making false statements to police. Prosecutors say the women gave false — and conflicting — alibis for the suspect.
“They’re constituents of Commissioner Brooks’ and he went to bat for them” before the women were charged, Tucker said. “Unfortunately he picked the wrong ones to go to bat for.”
The commissioner has other legal problems that aren’t connected to the baby killing. Also Thursday a grand jury in neighboring Camden County indicted Brooks on racketeering and other charges saying he abused his elected office by getting applicants for police jobs, liquor licenses and permits to pay him in exchange for his help influencing other officials. Tucker said Brooks did nothing illegal.
Attorneys for De’Marquise Elkins and Lang say have both said their clients are innocent.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25