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Published On: Sun, Aug 18th, 2013

Did Shelly West Kill Her Own 13-Month-Old Son, Antonio Santiago?

Did Shelly West Kill Her Own 13-Month-Old Son, Antonio Santiago?

Elkins and Antonio SantiagoThis past March 21st, 13-month-old toddler Antonio Santiago was killed after being shot in the head at close range. Not long after the shooting, two young blacks were arrested for the attempted robbery and the shooter was charged with murder. This all took place during the day, out in the open, in the small town of Brunswick, Georgia.

Antonio’s mother – Sherry West – said she was pushing Antonio in his stroller when the two young boys (17-year-old De’Marquis Elkins and accomplice, 15-year-old Dominque Lang) approached her.  Allegedly, the older assailant was “waving a gun, and demanding money.”

West said the older boy asked her if she wanted him to kill her child, allegedly because she had no money to give him. She begged for Antonio’s life and even tried to put her body between Antonio and the gun. In the end, though West sustained a gunshot wound, the life of little Antonio was snuffed out. All in all, four shots were fired. The first hit the ground. The second shot was aimed at West’s head. The third went into her leg. The fourth found Antonio’s head after Elkins allegedly walked around West and the stroller.

Shortly after the senseless murder occurred, the young boys were arrested. However, public defender Kevin Gough has a problem with West’s narrative of the events. “Other evidence of record suggests Sherry West is mentally unstable, gave several inconsistent accounts of how the crime transpired, and had a financial interest in the death of her son in the form of an insurance policy.” Beyond this, West has a 21-year-old daughter – Ashley Glassey -who originally stated that she believes her mother killed Antonio for the life insurance money. Having an insurance policy on someone is not usual. Most people have them. That proves nothing.

Interestingly enough, “Glassey refused to make the same statement under oath, however. While she was in jail for failing to appear in court on an unrelated case, one of Elkin’s attorneys interviewed her about the statement she made on television. According to a transcript, Glassey refused to repeat or confirm the story, saying that she did not want ‘to incriminate anyone’.”

Elkins faces life in prison if convicted of the murder, but he also plans to state that the mother was the one who killed Antonio. I’m not sure how he would know if he was not present during the crime. Apparently, Elkins’ own accomplice – Dominque Lang – has stated that Elkins was the one who pulled the trigger, shooting West and killing Antonio. One would think that if the mother had actually done the shooting, Elkins would be joined by Lang in agreement over that claim. Instead, Lang is pointing fingers at Elkins. Of course, it could be one of those situations where each boy will say anything to avoid being charged. Again though, if Shelly West was the one who actually killed her son and the two boys somehow witnessed that crime, why wouldn’t they both come out and state that? Why wait until now for Elkins to accuse West? Instead, the Lang is claiming that Elkins wielded the gun and used it to shoot West and kill Antonio.

There are a number of folks who believe that the fact that West had gunshot residue on her is suspicious. Of course, since she actually had a gunshot wound and it occurred at a fairly close range, that would explain the gunshot residue. These same folks also point out that the father – Louis Santiago – had gunshot residue on him and he was not even at the scene when the shootings took place. In response to this, West points out that Louis came to see her at the hospital and it was there that he came in contact with gunshot residue.

One article notes, “Several people in the neighborhood called 911 after they heard the gunshots fired, but Rhodes said investigators believed that the mother was the only witness to what happened.” I’m of the opinion that if Shelly West shot her own son, doing so outside in broad daylight would have been the most ridiculous thing ever. She was in a neighborhood where anyone could have been looking out of their homes and saw her shoot her son. There would have been no guarantee that her crime would have gone unnoticed by someone.

The Brunswick Police did not arrest anyone immediately, but West was able to pick Elkins out of a police line up. “Aside from her visual identification, most of the incriminating evidence against him comes from his own family and from Lang.” Beyond this, “Elkins’ mother and sister gave the police information that led them to a pond where they found a .22 caliber revolver – the type of gun used against Antonio.”

It is also known that Elkins is accused of shooting Wilfredo Calix Flores days before, who claims that Elkins shot him during an attempted robbery. Flores was shot with a .22 caliber weapon.

There are those who – as noted – believe that West is guilty of shooting her toddler son, but in my view, a number of things simply don’t add up. First, she would have taken a huge risk in shooting Antonio in the open during the day. Second, why was a gun not found? Where could she have hidden it between the time she allegedly shot Antonio and the time EMTs/Police arrived on the scene? That the gun was not found at or near the scene is telling and can only mean that someone removed it or took it with them when they left the scene. The fact that Lang accuses Elkins of the shooting and not West (if she actually did it) also strongly suggests West’s innocence, not to mention that her daughter who originally accused West would not repeat the claim under oath.

We’ll see what happens during the trial and hopefully, justice will prevail.

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About the Author

Fred DeRuvo

- Fred DeRuvo is the author of numerous articles and a growing number of books related to conservative theology and politics. Fred received his Bachelor's degree from Philadelphia College of Bible and his Masters from Tyndale Theological Seminary. Fred received his Th.D from Northwestern Theological Seminary in Florida. Listen to Fred’s weekly program at www.SermonAudio.com/studygrowknow and MPR 105.3 FM in the Philippines. Fred began Study-Grow-Know Ministries several years ago where he fights the scourge of Leftist politics and policies that seem to be gaining a foothold in America.

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Fred DeRuvo

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Fred DeRuvo
Fred DeRuvo is the author of numerous articles and a growing number of books related to conservative theology and politics. Fred received his Bachelor's degree from Philadelphia College of Bible and his Masters from Tyndale Theological Seminary. ... Read the full profile...