Police May Nail The Killers of Antonio Santiago Faster Than They Will Find George Zimmerman Guilty, or Find Jonylah Watkins’ Murderers

And by they, I mean the criminal justice system.

I’ve been watching the Antonio Santiago murder case unfold, and it is getting weirder and weirder by the day.  As the story went, nearly a week ago, just after six-month-old Jonylah Watkins was laid to rest in Chicago, Sherry West was pushing her little son Antonio in his stroller during a morning walk on their Brunswick, Georgia street, when two armed black youth accosted her.  They demanded money, she said, and when West pleaded that she didn’t have any to give, they shot the boy in the forehead and left her injured—she was grazed at the left ear and shot in the left leg—but alive.  No one witnessed the actual shooting, but there were three witnesses to its aftermath.

The woman says she saw the mother lay the child on the ground to try to revive him with CPR.

“Yes, I heard the shots. Somebody shot this child,” the caller said. “She’s got him on the ground. Please, we need everything we can get.”

One caller solemnly tells an operator: “No, the baby’s not breathing.” He says the child was shot “right between the eyes.”

A woman can be heard screaming in the background just before police arrive and sirens drown out her cries.

No callers reported seeing the shootings, and police said the three calls were the only ones they knew of.

The neighbors and even West’s landlords were astounded in early reports about the nature of the crime, because the neighborhood is not known for gangs, but has weathered a few robberies recently.  The locale is about 80 miles from Savannah, GA, the nearest big city.

Beverly Anderson, whose husband owns the property where West has lived for several years, said she was stunned by the violence in what’s generally known as a safe neighborhood where children walk to school and families are frequently outdoors. Jonathan Mayes and his wife were out walking their dogs Friday, right past the crime scene, and said they’ve never felt nervous about being out after dark. “What is so mind-numbing about this is we don’t have this kind of stuff happen here,” Mayes said.

There has been another disturbing development:  Ashley Glassey, the elder daughter and surviving child of the bereaved mother, has suggested to authorities that the little boy may have been murdered in a contract killing for the insurance money that West would have collected upon her son’s death.  Some people have jumped on this possible explanation as proof that it is more than just petty theft and robbery that motivated this murder.  In other words, blame the victim.

Glassey became concerned during the course of several phone conversations with her mother, when West asked her when she could conceivably expect her insurance check.  From First Coast News:

The daughter of Sherry West, Ashley Glassey, said she does not want to falsely accuse anyone but she wants the truth.

Glassey, 21, lives in New Jersey and said her mother lost custody of her when she was 8. She said she has forgiven her mom and has spoken to her every day since Thursday’s shooting but said some of her mother’s responses have her concerned.

Glassey said she started to have her doubts after receiving a phone call from her mother telling her that her brother, Antonio Santiago, had been killed. She claims the night of the shooting her mother asked, “How soon do you think life insurance policy will send me a check?”

Glassey tells First Coast News she hopes her suspicions are wrong but based on conversations with her mother she’s not sure. Glassey described their discussions by saying her mother is crying one minute and then sounds fine the next.

Luis Santiago and Sherry West, parents of the murdered baby boy, Antonio Santiago (Courtesy: NY Daily News)

Luis Santiago and Sherry West, parents of the murdered baby boy, Antonio Santiago (Courtesy: N.Y. Daily News)

Glassey also said that the father of her half-brother, Luis Santiago, seemed far from distracted at the death of his 13-month-old son when she spoke to him.  Santiago is not married to Sherry West, but he lived across the street from West and little Antonio.  Santiago is also quoted by media as wishing he had been there to protect his son; and that he loved Antonio’s beautiful blue eyes.  Glassey lives in New Jersey, so she is far from being near or even at the scene.  She has long since forgiven her mother for abandoning her as a child.  However, she also noted that  West is bipolar and suffers from schizophrenic tendencies, and that she did not know whether her mother was under a doctor’s supervision and/or taking  medication.

It was telling to me that in one report that West was said to be already packing her baby’s clothes to be distributed to charity stores.  What?  So soon?  It took a few months before my mother began to call friends of my grandmother to gift them with her dresses or other clothing, hats and gloves, and costume jewelry after her death.  I’ve heard of grieving parents keeping children’s rooms untouched for years after their passing whether expected or unexpected.  Or they keep favorite barrettes or rompers or socks or toys in memory of their lost child.  I know that people respond differently to death, especially a death like this which was upfront and personal, but something is wrong here.

Additionally, details of the earlier death of Sherry West’s other son, then 18-year-old Shaun Glassey, have revealed that this young man lost his life becoming involved in gang violence himself in 2008.  This, however, may not explain the death of his little brother years later, but it is a rather tantalizing piece of the puzzle.

[…] Shaun Glassey, had been killed with a steak knife during an attack involving several other teens on a dark street corner in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

“He and some other boys were going to ambush a kid,” Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the county prosecutor’s office, told the AP on Friday. Glassey was armed with a knife, but the 17-year-old target of the attack was able to get the knife away from him “and Glassey ended up on the wrong end of the knife”, Weisenfeld recalled.[…]

Dominique Lang, 15, and DeMarquis Elkins, 17, the suspects in the Antonio Santiago shooting (Courtesy: Mediaite)

Dominique Lang, 15, (left) and DeMarquis Elkins, 17,  (right) the suspects in the Antonio Santiago shooting; they don’t look gangsta now (Courtesy: Mediaite)

Madame Noire provides another aspect to the Glassey murder:

This new angle has been lighting up message boards around the web from those questioning certain suspicious behaviors of West after the murder, including interviews she had given so soon after the murder to various news organizations. In one such interview with WJXT in Jacksonville, West curiously speculated if the shooting of her 13-month-old baby was related to the death of her 18-year-old son Shaun Glassey, who was fatally stabbed five years ago in New Jersey. The boy who stabbed Glassey was never charged in the case because the police thought he acted in self-defense, after it was determined that Glassey and four other unnamed juveniles lured the boy via text message to a secluded location and initially tried to use the knife in the murder on him.

The Brunswick cops are rather mum about Ashley Glassey’s latest statements about her mother; they won’t say whether Glassey has spoken with them or whether they are taking her allegations seriously.  They have apprehended the suspected shooter, 17-year-old DeMarquis Elkins, who boasted on Facebook that he wanted to be a gangsta Blood, and his accomplice, 15-year-old Dominique Lang, whose name was finally released by national media because local media were naming him, and because he is being tried as an adult.  Because both are under the age of 18, Elkins and Lang do not face the death penalty if they are convicted.

When Elkins was first named—after I had hoped that it wasn’t anyone black who had something to do with this foul deed so soon after Jonylah’s murder—I thought that it wouldn’t be much of a job to convict him and any other accomplices, especially after West fingered him during a line-up.  However, the fact that Elkins’ mother and aunt may have had something to do with lying and covering up his and Lang’s actual movements that day, and tried to get rid of the murder weapon in some swamp or pond throws reasonable doubt out the window.

Wrong is wrong, sistas.  If these boys murdered that child, you should have called the cops right then and there instead of trumpeting their rather vaunted innocence.  Throwing shade on whether the cops have the wrong people and providing questionable alibis when you know otherwise and have tried to obstruct justice?  Please.  No, I don’t think that it is understandable that a mother would protect her own.  Not in this case, and not when it has something to do with a white biracial child.

Karimah (L), and Katrina (R) Elkins, the mother and the aunt of shooting suspect Dominique Elkins; they were charged with giving false statements and obstructing justice (Courtesy: Huffington Post)

Karimah Elkins (L), and Katrina (R) Freeman, the mother and the aunt of shooting suspect DeMarquis Elkins; they were charged with giving false statements and obstructing justice (Courtesy: Huffington Post)

Elkins’ mother, 36-year-old Karimah Elkins, and his aunt, 33-year-old Katrina Elkins, were booked Tuesday morning at the Glynn County jail on charges of making false statements to police, a misdemeanor. Jail records show both women were released after posting bond.

“We arrested them last night and brought them back to headquarters, where we afforded them the opportunity to make additional statements,” Doering said Tuesday. “They did, and that information led us to other witnesses … (who) led us to an area where the gun was disposed of.”

Doering would not say what false statements either woman made. The slaying suspect’s aunt told The Associated Press and other media outlets after his arrest that her nephew couldn’t be the killer because he was at her house for breakfast Thursday morning and then ran errands with her family when the baby and his mother were shot.

The aunt, booked at the jail under the name Katrina Elkins, told The AP and others that her last name was Freeman. Her jail mugshot showed her to be the same woman.

“He was with us the whole time,” the aunt told The AP on Saturday, and she said she gave police the same account of her nephew’s whereabouts. “There is no doubt in my mind that he is innocent.”

Yeah, right.  To me, those statements looked too unbelievable to be true.  Unfortunately, both sisters have criminal records. 

Both Elkins’ mother and aunt have substantial criminal records. Karimah Elkins was only 18 when she was convicted of aggravated assault, according to public documents. Ten years later, in 2005, she was convicted of theft by shoplifting.

Her sister, Katrina, served two stints in prison for shoplifting and financial identity fraud…

And then yesterday, Karimah’s daughter, Sabrina, was arrested and charged by the grand jury for allegedly helping to toss the murder weapon into a pond, which is nothing less than evidence tampering.

The sister of De’Marquise Elkins, one of the two teenage boys accused of fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in Brunswick, Georgia, has been arrested on an evidence tampering charge, the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

Sabrina Elkins, 19, was named in a grand jury indictment released Wednesday, accused of helping her mother get rid of the gun authorities say was used to kill the child during an attempted robbery on March 21.

Authorities did not reveal her alleged role in disposing of the gun, which police found in a pond 2.3 miles from where 13-month-old Antonio Santiago died.

“She was part of that, and that’s the most I can answer of that question right now,” Glynn County police Chief Matt Doering said.

The grand jury also indicted Elkins’ mother, Karimah Aisha Elkins, 36, and aunt, Katrina Latrelle Elkins, 33, on charges of making false statements or writings, among other things. They had been arrested earlier.

And then like icing on the cake, a Brunswick commissioner, James Brooks, who is a distant relative of the Elkins family according to the above video, and who was present when Karimah Elkins was arrested, was thrown in the slammer after cautioning Elkins not to say anything to the cops.  From what I understood, Brooks physically got in the middle between the officers and Elkins.  No, brother, you were wrong.  You could have simply been there as a witness to make sure that the cops did not manhandle her, but Karimah Elkins’ hands were not clean.  Make sure your hands are clean, and beat that bribery rap.

Additionally [Brooks’ attorney] Tucker released a statement on behalf of Commissioner  Brooks:

“Commissioner Brooks wishes to apologize for his interference with the murder investigation of Antonio Santiago.  He, along with several others in the community, had been duped by Karimah Elkins and Sabrina Elkins into believing their alibi story for Mr. De’Marquis Elkins. It was his honest belief at the time that he was trying to protect the rights of his constituents by advising them to remain silent and not make any additional statements to the police without having a lawyer present. Unfortunately, he learned later that the Elkins’ were not being truthful with the police when they made statements about Mr. Elkins’ whereabouts during the time of the shooting.”

Unless one of these boys ‘fesses up and says that Sherry West put them up to the deed, or that Karimah Elkins got her son to do it for a fee West offered, I doubt whether there is any merit to the possibility that West had her own child murdered to collect on the insurance.  I reserve the right to be suspicious, though, as a result of her daughter’s statement, and West’s own free-associative babblings.  I would hate to think that we as Americans have sunk to a new low as human beings if West had her own child murdered.

No doubt, there are some black (and Latino) youth and men who are not responsible for murders and rapes, and who were set up by corrupt cops and other authorities.  Not all of them are.  The actions of Karimah and Katrina Elkins have merely confirmed, at least in the eyes of law enforcement, that their son and nephew may be culpable, and that the cops have the right suspects.  They’ve made matters far worse.

In contrast, Debra Olbey (or Obley), who is the aunt of Dominique Lang, has been cooperating with police and therefore, has not been charged with obstruction.  Particularly when she says something like this:

Debra Obley says she never imagined she’d have two ties to the investigation into the murder of the toddler.

“I feel sad I’m being threatened, yeah I’m being threatened by people saying they are going to kill me or have people to kill me, because I’m a snitch,” said Obley.

Obley’s nephew is the 14-year-old accused of being an accomplice to the murder.

She tells Channel 4 that she gave Elkins a ride from her mother’s house, not knowing who he was.

“When he got in the car, he laid down in the backseat,” said Obley. “He kept looking around, peeping up and I said, ‘Boy, what you doing? You skipping school?’ You know, he said ‘No ma’am.'”

When she started asking for more questions, Obley said Elkins cut the ride short.

“When he got out of the car, he had something hid up in his pants. It was a gun,” said Obley.

Obley says she felt something wasn’t right, so she asked her nephew about it.

“I said…if you’ve got something to do with this little baby, you can’t talk to me. I’m your auntie,” said Obley. “He said ‘Auntie, I don’t even know the boy. I don’t have anything to do with that.'”

Even though he wouldn’t talk to her, Obley decided to talk to police. While it’s hard to see her nephew behind bars, Obley said she feels she did the right thing.

See what I mean about “no snitching”?  No snitching has got to end.  Are you kidding me, that Debra Olbey is getting death threats for telling what she knew about the death of a child?

This baby murder, therefore, has more to do with the shooting of Jonylah Watkins than it does to the murder of Trayvon Martin, because it was related to gang violence.  Teenager DeMarquis Elkins was obsessed with the thug life and wanted to join a gang.  At most, he was a wannabe.  At the time of Antonio’s murder, Elkins was also under suspicion for robbing a local pastor at gunpoint.  Jonylah Watkins’ father,  Jonathan Watkins, was quite probably still in a gang and may have been the actual target of the shooter.

Nonetheless, Robert Zimmerman, Jr.  tried to tie the murder of Antonio Santiago to his brother, who is also a white Latino.  George Zimmerman is an adult who is is very much alive while Trayvon Martin, like baby Antonio, didn’t know who his assailant was, was unarmed and is dead.  Trayvon Martin never was a member of a gang, and he was not on the prowl or wanting to rob anyone.

Add to this the very real possibility Trayvon was fighting for his life against a stranger, and like Antonio, he did not have a chance.  Good thing George Zimmerman had a gun—when he wasn’t supposed to pack one as a neighborhood watch person— or he would have been just like this little baby, insinuated Zimmerman, Jr.

Zimmerman’s bigoted Twitter diatribe disgusted many, and he was forced to backtrack that statement in a half-assed, non-apology apology on Piers Morgan.  It was all in aid of trying to “help” his brother and to pollute a possible jury pool, as well as throw red meat to his brother’s supporters who think that all black males and particularly black youth, are lethal on two legs.  Trying to ascribe whiteness, purity and innocence to the human psychological mess that is George Zimmerman is a real stretch of the imagination.  It is even more disturbing that the Florida cops involved were too willing to believe his version of events that painted Trayvon as an intruder, a possible gangbanger, and someone who did not belong to the gated community (when he did).  While some people may readily buy it to reassure themselves, many others are not so fooled.

On the real, Jonylah’s killers in Chicago, the shooter and the accomplice who drove him away, are still at large at this writing.  A lot of it has to do with the gang omerta of her own father, Jonathan Watkins, who won’t tell who he might think is the killer to the Chicago cops.  In other words, he refuses to snitch on the thugs.  It’s sad to portend that whoever we find is responsible for Antonio’s death, Jonylah may have to  await justice in a courtroom, if it ever comes at all.  Suspects in her case, and in the case of another murdered child, Hadiya Pendleton should have been easy to find, but more often, they are not.  Citizens usually clam up in fear of being harassed by death threats or threats of bodily harm, as with Debra Olbey, for “snitching.”

I really think that it was because of Hadiya’s tenuous proximity to the Obamas that her killers were finally apprehended within a few days after her burial.  That Hadiya was a girl who was black, but who was also middle-class, a striver, and who was anti-gang as well as having a stable family also contributed.  Unfortunately, there are still some blacks who think that “no snitching” is something that is defensible and unifying.  It is not.  Black folks cannot defend certain black men and youth because they are detrimental to black people and ultimately hurtful to the black community.  That a white Latino baby’s killers may be prosecuted more easily than a black baby’s murderers is not just about race but about class and culture.  There has got to be some changes made.

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~ by blksista on March 30, 2013.

6 Responses to “Police May Nail The Killers of Antonio Santiago Faster Than They Will Find George Zimmerman Guilty, or Find Jonylah Watkins’ Murderers”

  1. There are no “white Latinos”. That is an invention of the mainstream press trying to turn Zimmerman into a white man, presumably to further incriminate him.

    Until the black community gets its act straight and lets go, collectively, of this ridiculous, destructive “b-tch set me up” mentality, there will be no racial healing in this country.

    At some point, the rest of us Americans will have had enough.

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  2. see http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-april-10-2013/ken-burns before you make up your mind,. Also Google Otto Zehm diary on Komo News 4 Spokane. The only footage that doesn’t play, is the very first one, from before the city got a hold of it, and edited , cropped blurred and cut and pasted to try to hide the truth. Officer Scott Thompson still wound up getting 9 years in club fed, or in some witness protection type situation. I’m not sure mom did it, but she’s definitely lying about stuff, like her mental illness history, and they seem so sure it’s the boys, and aren’t giving her the same scrutiny. There’s a Luis Santiago that’s high up in OSHA, in Savanah, and a Luis Santiago that was a cop in New Jersey, where West had lived. Why did she lose her daughter? Was their other CPS cases on her? Was there a CPS (Child Protective service ) case on Antonio? Were there any other injuries on his body? Drugs in his system? Illegal drugs in her’s? Was she off meds?

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  3. I agree with the above, I’m very suspicious of the parents and it’s not like plenty of parents have not killed their own kids before. And now it looks like the defense attorney has some evidence that Debra Olbey and Sherry West knew each other before. Who’s to say they did not decide together what kid would take the fall for their scheme? Maybe that’s how Sherry picked the kid out of the line up. Maybe she used her nephew to help set him up. The boys might have been involved in this but there is way more to this story and I hope the police do not just stop looking at the evidence. This baby deserves justice. The video of the dad just calmly chatting about his trip to Walmart that day and how he begins to sob when the reporter asks him how he feels about the police continuing to look at other suspects is really creepy. It’s like it doesn’t even occur to him to act sad until he is reminded that he might still be under suspicion. I’m praying for justice for that baby no matter who or what it leads to.

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  4. I hate to say it, but I’m still very suspicious of the parents’ involvement in this case. Based on what Olbey says, it looks like Elkins had the gun after reports were already made about Antonio’s death. I think there are many possibilities for why DE may have had the gun that don’t necessarily involve him shooting a baby. I really hope LE looks beyond these two kids to find out more. DE plead not-guilty, even when there were two witnesses, Lang and West? He may have been involved, and his family may have known he was involved in something no-good, or they may have thought, “Oh no, we need to give him an alibi, or he’s gonna get pinned with this baby’s murder for sure.” On the other hand, he was considered quiet and was frequently visiting a shelter for abused kids. He may have been trying to be tough and totally broke down and lost all of his mind and soul while wielding a gun on that terrible day. Wannabe gang members can totally do messed up things, though I think gang initiations are usually involving the actual members, though they do rarely involved heinous crimes like this one.

    But listen, the mom went on the news to say she was waiting to marry the baby’s father, but now she’s leaving him to go back to New Jersey where her daughter lives. Even he asks why she doesn’t wait for the trial and says she “fears for her life.” Makes sense if Olbey’s getting threats. Baby was sleeping at 9 am already? Something’s not right.

    West had her two kids taken away from her because of physical abuse when they were 10 years old, and she moved to another state after that. She was ordered not to have contact with them, according to a Yahoo post by Ashley Glassey four years ago: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090512133220AA1B95X

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    • Hey, I am suspicious, too. The fact that she wants to hightail it back to New Jersey on the QT, the fact that she doesn’t seem to mourn the child at all. Weird. I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop, but frankly, if the kids knew they were being set up, they should have blabbed right off the bat.

      What I would like to know is what prints they were able to find on that gun, and whether it had been fired recently.

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