BRUNSWICK, Ga. —
The judge not only gave Elkins the maximum possible punishment for his murder conviction, but also sentenced him to 105 additional years in prison for other counts including aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery. That included 30 years for shooting and wounding a pastor outside his church 10 days before the killing.
"We're definitely disappointed with the ruling," defense attorney Kevin Gough said as he left Glynn County Superior Court. "Life without parole for a juvenile, our position remains, is cruel and unusual punishment."
Gough said he plans to appeal both the verdict and the sentence. Elkins would have been eligible for parole in 30 years had that been allowed as part of his sentence.
Ultimately the judge sided with prosecutors who spoke of the brutal circumstances of the crime and that Elkins escaped facing the death penalty only because he was a few months shy of his 18th birthday when the baby was slain.
"He aimed that gun right between that baby's eyes and shot that baby," District Attorney Jackie Johnson said. "I don't know of a more inhumane act or wantonly vile act ... than to aim a gun at a sleeping baby in a stroller and take that baby's life."
At trial, prosecutors had said West was pushing her son in his stroller home that March day from a post office when two teenagers approached her, blocks from her apartment.
Dominique Lang, 15, testified at trial he was with Elkins when the older teen pulled a gun and demanded West's purse. When she refused, Lang said, Elkins twice threatened her baby and counted down from five.
West testified she pleaded with Elkins that she had no money and tried to cover her child with her arms as the gunman fired a warning shot, a bullet into her leg and then shot the baby.