Crime /

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Shot And Killed In Driveway At Maryland Home

Judge had ruled against the murder suspect hours before in a divorce case where full custody of the children was given to the mother

A circuit court judge was fatally shot in the driveway of his Maryland home on Oct. 19.

Pedro Argote, the suspect wanted for the murder of U.S. Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, targeted the judge hours after he ruled against Argote in a divorce proceeding where the judge granted full custody of his children to his ex-wife.

Argote, who did not show up for the hearing, was not granted any visitation rights, the mother was awarded sole possession and use of the family home, Argote was ordered not to enter the home, and was ordered to pay the mother child support of $1,120 per month.

During a press conference, Washington County Sheriff Brian K. Albert confirmed that the murder was committed because of the court ruling, called the incident a “targeted attack” and requested help from the public in locating Argote, warning that he is “armed and dangerous.”

Albert would not reveal how police were able to identify Argote as the sole suspect or what kind of firearm was used in the shooting. He also said that Wilkinson’s wife and son were home at the time of the shooting.

Maryland’s court system issued a statement saying, “The Maryland Judiciary mourns the tragic death of Judge Andrew Wilkinson. As we grieve his loss, we ask that you keep the Wilkinson family in your prayers and please respect their privacy. The Maryland Judiciary is actively engaging with law enforcement to assist in resolving this matter and to ensure the safety of our judges, staff, and visitors, which remains our top priority.”

As a precaution, state troopers were deployed overnight to protect judges who live in Washington County. “But we don’t feel that there’s any threat, currently, to the other judges in the county or the state,” Albert said.

The attorney representing the children in the divorce case praised Wilkinson.

“Judge Wilkinson was an amazing man, father, husband and judge and I am blessed to have known and worked with him,” attorney Ashley Wilburn wrote in an email to ABC News. “He is a hero.”

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