HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s state judiciary is accepting applications to replace a circuit court judge who was killed earlier this year by a man whose divorce case the judge was presiding over, authorities have said.
Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot to death in his driveway Oct. 19, just hours after granting a divorce to Pedro Argote’s wife and awarding her full custody of their four children. Authorities quickly identified Argote as a suspect and launched a search.
Argote, 49, was found dead the following week in a heavily wooded area outside Hagerstown not far from where the shooting unfolded. An autopsy later confirmed he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a spokesperson for Maryland’s chief medical examiner said Tuesday.
Wilkinson, 52, was appointed to the bench nearly four years ago, fulfilling his longtime dream of becoming a judge after working as an assistant county attorney and later starting his own law office, according to loved ones.
The Maryland Judiciary posted on its website last week about the vacancy created by Wilkinson’s death, saying applications will be accepted through Dec. 21.
Gov. Wes Moore will ultimately choose from a list of candidates submitted to him by a judicial nominating commission.
Hagerstown, a city of nearly 44,000 where Wilkinson spent most of his life, lies about 75 miles northwest of Baltimore in the panhandle of Maryland, near the state lines of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.