The murder trial of 18-year-old De’Marquise Elkins (pictured left) took an interesting turn when the African-American teen’s public defender asked for a more racially diverse jury. Elkins is on trial in Cobb County, Ga., for the March murder of 13-month-old Antonio Angel Santiago (pictured center). Elkins is also charged with shooting the boy’s mother, Sherry West, in the leg, and for reportedly shooting a minister weeks before the killing of the toddler.
According to a report from First Coast News and other outlets, Elkins’ public defender balked at the racial imbalance of the jury during Day 1 of the selection on Monday and demanded that more Black persons and young people be part of the pool.
Because of the late arrival of potential African-American and young jurors, they were put on a “reserve” list.
“We believe that has an impact on the representation of African-American men,” said Kevin Gough, the Brunswick Judicial Circuit public defender representing Elkins. Gough later said there were 15 Black men in the reserve pool, along with several women.