Furthermore, Elkins has lost his alibi. His mother and aunt have been arrested for lying to the police:
Karima Aisha Elkins, 36, and Katrina Latrelle Elkins, 33, were booked on charges of making false statements to police and concealing facts or providing fraudulent documents in matters of government, Glynn County police said.These women look troubled in their mug shots, and I mean that in the mental health sense. If it turns out that what Lang's mother told CNN is what her son actually told her and not what she hopes, then it would appear that Sherry West may also be telling the truth. Lang's mother told the news network that her son is a victim of Elkins's threats; he feared for his own life and was only a witness.
And yet, even West's own daughter seems to doubt her regarding how Baby Antonio died.
I stand by innocent until proven guilty. I hope we remember that family dysfunction and having relatives who will lie does not prove that a person is guilty of a specific crime. Such craziness merely identifies the accused as the product of dysfunction. Having a mother who will say whatever she can to protect you and even having been in trouble with the law before does not mean a person accused of a crime committed the specific crime of which he or she's been accused. And even when considering a person's criminal record, the types of past crimes are a factor as well. Does Elkins have a history of committing violent crimes?
But again, if the boys did it, they should be punished.
I must address another issue here. Someone on Twitter said to me, "This has nothing to do with race. Don't make it into that. It is about a little baby murdered."
It's true that the murder itself is "not about race," but the aftermath naturally touches on race. The history of African-Americans in Southern states and the criminal justice system makes that so, and this is one of the reasons we must be careful now.
Unless we can resurrect Baby Antonio, there's nothing left for the people to do but see that justice is served, to actively seek the facts and truth about what happened. Is justice served when people are thrown into prison without considering the source of accusations against them? Really?
Also, can I "make" something about race that does not already involve the constructs of race? Whenever anyone tells me that race is not a factor, a warning light goes off in my head. For that person on Twitter, this criminal incident may have nothing to do with race. She may be so upset at the idea that a baby was murdered that she can't think about anything else. However, she can't speak for others out there who assumed the teens were guilty simply on the mother's say-so because the teens are black.
Those people, people like George Zimmerman's brother Robert, would gladly point to statistics and launch a sweep of black teens into prison. His brother went into a racist rant on Twitter following the news that Sherry West had identified two black teens as the perpetrators. So, why don't these people who say "don't make this about race" write to Robert Zimmerman Jr.?
And why do such people refuse to examine West's story? Where are the forensics on this case? Has a gun been recovered? Did the police find blood on the Elkins boy's shirt, gun powder on his hands? What was the motive behind shooting the baby, and why didn't the alleged shooter also shoot West since she could identify him? Not enough people are asking these kinds of questions because many in the public assume that if some wooly-headed black boys from troubled homes have been accused and arrested, they must be guilty.
But I say the principle of innocent until proven guilty stands to protect most those people who are most likely to face discrimination in the court of public opinion and the actual courtroom. It is not reserved only for the angelic-looking, wealthy, and previously-trouble-free citizens among us.
Still, I'll assert the following one more time for the hard of hearing and slow to comprehend: Killing an innocent baby is a horrific crime. If the boys did this, they must be punished. And yet I must ask, why do some people have trouble with the word if?
Updated @ 11:00 P.M.: Police have recovered a gun and are testing it to see if it is the same gun used in the shooting. Read more at AJC.
And from The Grio, "Brunswick baby murder brings racial tensions to the surface." Elkins's lawyer says his client is innocent?