California man pleads guilty to aiding 2009 murder in Maryland

A California man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to his role in the 2009 killing of a friend's spouse on the Eastern Shore.

Dellando Recardo Campbell, 31, of Lemoore, Calif., admitted helping Ryan Holness, 33, luring Holness' 26-year-old wife, Serika Dunkley Holness, from New York to Maryland in order to kill her, staging the crime as a fatal carjacking.


He pleaded guilty to the charge of interstate domestic violence resulting in the death of a spouse. If the deal is accepted by a U.S. District Court judge, Campbell could receive up to 30 years in jail. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Campbell was arrested by Maryland State Police in February after his DNA, which was collected following an unrelated case, was matched by a national database.


According to the plea agreement, Campbell told officials he and Ryan Holness, formerly of St. Mary's County, had known each other since late 2002, when they served together in the Navy. Prosecutors said that in 2009, Holness plotted to bring the victim, who was living in New York City apart from her husband, to Maryland under the ruse that he needed her to cosign a lease on a townhouse.

A year before, investigators said, Holness took out a $500,000 life insurance policy on his wife, listing himself as the beneficiary.

In May and June 2009, Holness and Campbell exchanged 34 text messages in which Holness discussed a plan to kill his wife, officials said. Holness asked Campbell to help make the murder appear to be committed by a carjacker by leaving his DNA and blood at the scene.

The plea agreement states Campbell admitted leaving his blood in the Honda and later driving it to Washington, D.C., where police seized it.

Serika Dunkley Holness was found dead with multiple stab wounds in a field beside Route 291 in Kent County on June 5, 2009. Ryan Holness was arrested and sentenced to life in prison after a two-week trial in June 2011.

U.S. attorney's office officials said even with the plea agreement, investigators haven't determined who stabbed the victim.