BRUNSWICK — A Georgia woman was spared from prison Monday and sentenced to probation for helping dispose of a gun that police say her brother used to kill a 13-month-old boy during an attempted street robbery last year.
Sabrina Elkins, 20, will spend six months confined to a work camp for women as part of her 5-year probation sentence. She pleaded guilty in May to tampering with evidence. Her brother, De'Marquise Elkins, is serving a life prison sentence after he was convicted of murder last year in the March 21, 2013, slaying of young Antonio Santiago.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Kelley noted in court Monday that investigators don't believe Sabrina Elkins ever touched the .22-caliber revolver used in the killing. But she confessed to accompanying her mother as she dropped the gun in a saltwater pond, where the weapon was later recovered by police.
"My client was a minor player in this event," Frank Aspinwall, Sabrina Elkins' defense attorney, told the judge. "She's working, she's in college, she's trying to get on with her life and put this event behind her."
The slain boy's mother, Sherry West, sat in the courtroom but did not testify. She testified at De'Marquise Elkins' trial last year that she was walking home to her Brunswick apartment from the post office with her son when Elkins, then 17, and another youth approached and demanded her purse. West said when she refused, Elkins drew a gun and shot her in the leg, then shot her baby in the face.
Sabrina Elkins had faced up to 10 years in prison for her role in trying to hide the weapon.
"She was clearly involved in the disposal of that weapon," said District Attorney Jackie Johnson, who also noted it was the young woman's first criminal offense of any kind. "I think it's a fair sentence under the circumstances."
The Elkins siblings' mother, Karimah Elkins, was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for evidence tampering after she was convicted to throwing the gun in a pond. The siblings' aunt, Katrina Elkins, got a prison sentence of five years after she pleaded guilty to lying to police. She had given her nephew a false alibi in the slaying, telling investigators he was at her home playing computer games when the baby was shot.
Prosecutors still have one defendant with a pending case in the killing. Dominique Lang, who was 15 at the time of his arrest, still faces a murder charge in Superior Court. His defense attorney has asked the judge to move his case to juvenile court. It's a legal maneuver that would make the murder charge go away.
The judge ordered a mental evaluation for Lang in March and has yet to hold a hearing on its findings. Lang cooperated with prosecutors and testified against De'Marquise Elkins at his murder trial.