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DA: Accused baby killers won't face death penalty

NEED TO KNOW
  • Mother says teens tried to rob her, shot her baby in the face
  • Both teens are being charged with murder but district attorney can't pursue death penalty because they're under 18
De'Marquise Elkins is accused of shooting a baby in Brunswick, Georgia.

Mom of teen suspect: My son didn't shoot baby

Mom of teen suspect: My son didn't shoot baby

A grand jury in Brunswick, Georgia, ruled Wednesday that two teens accused of shooting a 13-month-old baby can be charged with murder. But since the suspects are under 18, the district attorney's office says it cannot seek the death penalty against them.

Police used descriptions of the suspects and school attendance records to make their arrest. They took 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins and an 15-year-old into custody last week. The younger suspect is not being identified because of his age.

READ MORE: Mom, aunt of baby slaying suspect arrested

Sherry West said she was walking home from the post office, pushing her son, Antonio, in a stroller when she saw two boys.

"A boy approached me and told me he wanted my money, and I told him I didn't have any money," West said. "And he said, 'Give me your money or I'm going to kill you and I'm going to shoot your baby and kill your baby,' and I said, 'I don't have any money,' and 'Don't kill my baby.'"

West said the teen shot her in the leg with another bullet grazing her head.

"And then, all of a sudden, he walked over and he shot my baby in the face," West said.

West said she tried to perform CPR on the baby, but it was too late. Police have said the older teen will be charged as an adult.

"If they can use a gun like an adult, then they can be charged like an adult," West said. "I want to see lethal injection or at least life in prison. This child did nothing to him. He was innocent and helpless."

Under the law, the district attorney cannot seek the death penalty since the suspects were under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.

In a statement released to HLN, District Attorney Jackie L. Johnson says she "would like to thank the law enforcement officers who have worked tirelessly to gather evidence in this case. The district attorney would also like to thank those citizens who have come forward with information critical to the investigation of this case. The investigation of this case is ongoing."

The teens have each been charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, cruelty to children and attempted robbery. Their case will now proceed in Superior Court.

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