Dolores Delgado was either a shrinking violet or vengeful mistress, attorneys said Wednesday.
The petite 33-year-old was so blinded by love that she unwittingly helped a soldier kill his wife in Maryland, one said in court Wednesday. Or she was a jealous girlfriend who raised pythons, could handle an M16, and plotted the killing of her rival, another said.
Baltimore jurors heard both portrayals of the Florida woman during closing arguments in the federal murder trial of her on-and-off boyfriend, Army Sgt. Maliek Kearney.
“In this whole case, everything rises and falls on the word of Dolores Delgado,” defense attorney Teresa Whalen told jurors in federal court in Baltimore.
The jury began deliberating Wednesday afternoon on whether Kearney, 37, was guilty of the federal crime of crossing state lines to commit domestic violence resulting in a death. A conviction could send the decorated soldier to prison for the rest of his life.
Kearney has attended the trial wearing his dress uniform: white shirt, blue pants, gold stripe. He has stood at attention during the arrival of judge and jury. He bowed his head when prosecutors showed photos of his wife’s dead body. He did not testify.
Anne Arundel County Police found his young wife shot to death in the bedroom of her Severn townhome in August 2015. Someone had shoved a revolver against Karlyn Ramirez’s body and fired three times: once into her side, twice into her chest.
She was shot at point-blank range to muffle the sound, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Clark told jurors.
Ramirez, 24, an Army private stationed at Fort Meade, was found with her infant daughter beside her body. The child was unharmed.
Her underwear had been pulled down around her ankles. Detectives say they believe the crime scene was staged to appear like a sexual assault.
Delgado, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, has pleaded guilty to crossing state lines to commit domestic violence resulting in a death. She could be sentenced to life in prison. She testified as a government witness on the third day of the trial. She said she supplied Kearney with her car and gun, then burned his clothes and dumped the revolver off a fishing pier in Florida.
FBI divers found the gun.
Delgado testified that she and Kearney went to elaborate lengths to plan the killing. She told jurors she tracked her mileage to help Kearney determine how much gas he would need to drive from his home in South Carolina to Maryland. She bought two 5-gallon gas cans from Home Depot, she said, so he wouldn’t have to stop at a gas station and risk being seen.
Delgado said she loaned him her Nissan Altima, which was less conspicuous than his Jaguar. She stayed in his apartment with his cellphone. She said she sent two text messages from his phone while he was gone to establish an alibi.
Prosecutors presented the jury with evidence that they say backs up Delgado’s version of events. They showed text messages in which they say Kearney asked Delgado to bring him her revolver.