Read the latest on this case at this blog at this link.
UPDATES, March 2013: Evidence is mounting against the boys, Elkins and the now-identified 15-year-old Dominique Lang. While Sherry West's story seems off (perhaps due to her alleged mental illnesses), it's starting to look as though she's telling the truth. A gun's been recovered. Read more here.
Today, someone left a link in comments on my post "Baby Shot in Stroller, 2013: Echoes of Susan Smith, 1994" that directs readers to a new element in the Baby Antonio murder case. The story at the link raises more questions about the baby's mother, Sherry West. In the video below, West's daughter, Ashley Glassey, tells a Brunswick, Georgia, television reporter that "she does not want to falsely accuse anyone but she wants the truth."
According to this KSDK story, West lost custody of Glassey when the young woman was eight years old, but Glassey says she has forgiven her mother for whatever took place back then. Nonetheless, she also says that her mother, West, suffers from bipolar disorder with "schizophrenic tendencies." Glassey says that she has been suspicious about the circumstances of Baby Antonio's death since her mother first called her and told her that the 13-month-old had been killed. At that time, Glassey says West changed details about the shooting, saying that the baby was shot first not West as West has since told the media, and shortly after speaking of the murder, West asked how soon did Glassey think the insurance company would pay benefits.
Having dealt with two deaths in my family last year, I consider that it's possible that West wondered about the baby's life insurance benefits because she needed that money to pay funeral expenses. However, as I noted in my second post about the Baby Antonio case, West had his body cremated shortly after his death; therefore, funeral expenses should not have been significant.
Furthermore, in West early interviews, she seemed to me to be very focused on moving back to New Jersey, which made me think that she may have been thinking about moving away from Baby Antonio's father, Luis Santiago, before the baby was killed. As I noted yesterday, an AJC article indicates that Santiago seemed more angry at West when he was notified of the baby's death than he appeared to be angry at the boys she accused: he blamed West for the baby's death.
I also wrote in that post yesterday that West's son Shaun Glassey, who was stabbed to death in New Jersey in 2008, was not the innocent victim of a crime as West represents him in the media. Another boy stabbed her son in self-defense when Shaun Glassey and other teens jumped the boy.
If West has a mental disorder and was the victim of a crime in which she witnessed the shooting of her baby, then this story is even sadder for her. A person can only take so much. But it's equally possible that this story is another kind of tragedy. It's possible that West saw De'Marquise Elkins someplace else, harmed her own baby, couldn't deal with what she'd done, and then hallucinated or invented the story she's told police and the press. I hope the Brunswick police know what they're doing because they quickly arrested the accused boys based on West's story and identification.
Just as West's daughter does not want to accuse her of anything, I also am reluctant to point a finger at her because no one wants to bring more heartache to a grieving mother. West is innocent until proven otherwise. But so are those boys.
I hope people will be careful not to demonize the two teen boys who've been arrested based on the accusations of an unstable woman. And I especially hope that people will not be sucked into the propaganda readily constructed by racists commenting on this crime and who seek to capitalize on this tragedy for the sake of their political agenda.
It's horrible, for instance, that George Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr, took to Twitter recently calling black teens "killers." He readily assumed that the boys are guilty, did not question Sherry West's strange story at all, and then he equated Trayvon Martin with alleged shooter De'Marquise Elkins. (But Trayvon Martin did not have the gun; George Zimmerman did.) Obviously, the man has an agenda for which he will gladly sacrifice every black teen to achieve. This is just more of the blood lust we Americans must work to avoid.
In the Baby Antonio case, more than ever, we need to be careful to not rush to judgement. It's possible the boys committed this horrible crime, but it's also quite possible that West invented her story accusing them. Either way, a baby is dead, and with no other witnesses and an awareness that West may not be as credible as people have assumed, her version of how her son died needs to be examined.
Updated 3/26/13, 11:00 PM: Police have recovered a gun in the case and Elkins alibi has been derailed. His mother and aunt have been arrested for lying to the police.