BALTIMORE, MD — A trial began in federal court Monday for a U.S. Army sergeant charged with killing his wife, Karlyn Ramirez — who was also a soldier.
Sergeant Maliek Kearney, 27, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Army Pfc. Karlyn Ramirez, three times at close range with a Taurus .357-caliber revolver. The killing took place inside Ramirez’s residence on August 24, 2015.
Afterward, authorities say Kearney pulled down Ramirez’s pants and removed her underwear to make the crime look like a sexual assault that led to murder.
Following the shooting, maintenance workers called 911 to report Ramirez’s from door left open suspiciously. Responders discovered Ramirez’s body inside. The couple’s four-month-old daughter was reportedly sleeping nearby, unharmed. Police believe the baby was with her dead mother for about eight hours.
Prior to the attack, Ramirez had taken out a restraining order against Kearney.
At the time, Kearney was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, while Ramirez was fulfilling her duties at Fort Meade, Maryland. Kearney has been charged with crossing state lines to commit domestic violence that resulted in death, thereby making this a federal case.
The FBI, the Army, and local law enforcement meticulously built a case against Kearney for a year prior to charging him in San Antonio, Texas, in 2016.
At the same time, officials also arrested Dolores Delgado, 33, Kearney’s girlfriend. She was accused of plotting the murder with Kearney, as well as providing the car, the gun, and the alibi necessary to pull it off. Authorities say Delgado also crossed state lines with Kearney.
In August 2017, Delgado admitted her guilt and cut a plea deal to avoid the death penalty. She is now scheduled to testify against Kearney in court. Delgado remains in custody and will be sentenced after Kearney’s trial.
As the trial began Monday, prosecutors painted Kearney as obsessed with controlling his wife. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warwick told the jury:
“He didn’t want to take no for an answer. If he couldn’t have her, then no one was going to have her.”
Defense attorney Kwasi Hawks countered that Kearney was, in fact, attempting to save his marriage and that Dolores Delgado is actually responsible to killing Ramirez.
The trial continues today. Both Kearney and Delgado face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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Main photo: Karlyn Ramirez [WBAL TV screenshot]