The marriage had gone bad between Army Sgt. Maliek Kearney and Pfc. Karlyn Ramirez. The two soldiers lived apart by summer 2015, with Ramirez raising their infant daughter in Anne Arundel County.
That August, police found Ramirez, 24, shot to death inside her Severn town home.
Both had been unfaithful, federal prosecutors and defense attorneys told a jury in Baltimore Monday. Prosecutors blame Kearney for the killing, alleging that he carefully plotted his wife’s murder when she tried to leave him.
“He didn’t want to take no for an answer,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warwick told jurors. “If he couldn’t have her, then no one was going to have her.”
The trial began Monday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in the case against Kearney, 37. The decorated sergeant was stationed at Fort Jackson in South Carolina when his wife was killed. He is charged with the federal crime of crossing state lines to commit domestic violence that resulted in death.
His defense attorney, Kwasi Hawks, told jurors that Kearney was trying to save his marriage, and claimed Kearney’s jealous mistress was responsible for his wife’s death.
The co-defendant, Dolores Delgado, 33, of Florida, has already pleaded guilty to the same crime of crossing state lines to commit domestic violence in a death. Under Delgado’s plea deal, federal prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty for her.
Hawks showed jurors a Facebook message he said came from Delgado after an incident when Kearney had swallowed 70 sleeping pills. Hawks told jurors Kearney had been distraught over the situation with Ramirez, and in the Facebook post Delgado stated, “The crazy b--- is going to be put out.”
“She vows at that moment that she is going to cause the death of Karlyn Ramirez,” Hawks said.
Ramirez grew up in Texas and enlisted in the Army in 2013. She was deployed to Korea, where she met Kearney one year later. She was his subordinate.
“That type of relationship is frowned upon in the United States Army,” said Warwick, the prosecutor. Nevertheless, the two married.
Once she became pregnant, Ramirez was sent to Fort George G. Meade in Anne Arundel County. She gave birth to a daughter and lived in the Lake Village Townhomes rental complex. She had received an Army protective order that prohibited Kearney from contacting her.
In August 2015 maintenance workers called police after discovering a glass door left open to her home. Police found her dead upstairs. Asleep in her arms was her 4-month-old daughter.
Warwick told jurors that the child, “fortunately, was not old enough to realize the gruesome death of her mother.”
According to details of her plea agreement, Delgado admitted to providing Kearney with a handgun and her car. She also said she supplied him with gas cans so he would not have to stop and refuel on his drive from South Carolina to Maryland.
Afterward, she threw the gun and his clothes off a pier in Florida, prosecutors say. FBI divers recovered the items.
Warwick told jurors Kearney was furious after learning his wife was having an affair, and alleged he “shot her three times at close range.” He said Delgado will testify in the coming days.
Kearney’s defense attorney argued that the prosecutor’s account didn’t make sense. There would hardly have been enough time for Kearney to make the long drive to Maryland and return to work the next morning in South Carolina, Hawks told the jury.
“The entire trip is impossible,” he said. “The timing doesn’t work out.”
He also told jurors that investigators found DNA from someone else on Ramirez’s body — someone whose identity remains a mystery.