Army Sergeant Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison After Federal Trial Conviction for Domestic Violence Resulting in the Murder of His Wife
Defendant Murdered his Wife in the Presence of His Four-Month-Old Daughter
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Army Sergeant Maliek Kearney, age 37, of San Antonio, Texas, today to life in federal prison, without the possibility of parole, for traveling to Maryland from South Carolina to murder his wife as part of an elaborate plan that involved the help of his girlfriend. Judge Russell also ordered Kearney to pay $492,800 in restitution to the family of Karlyn Ramirez. Kearney was convicted on August 8, 2018, after an 11-day trial of the federal charges of interstate travel to commit domestic violence resulting in the death of Karlyn Ramirez, and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. Kearney remains detained. Kearney’s girlfriend, Delores Delgado, previously pleaded guilty in federal court for interstate travel to commit domestic violence resulting in death, in connection with the death of Karlyn Ramirez, and testified against Kearney at his trial.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Commanding General David P. Glaser of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare.
U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said, “Maliek Kearney cold-heartedly planned the murder of his wife and placed his four-month-old baby in her dead arms after shooting her several times at close range. The investigators and prosecutors painstakingly put this case together so that Kearney did not escape justice. This sentence ensures that Kearney will not be able to harm any other women. Hopefully, it will also bring the family of Karlyn Ramirez some peace that Kearney has been brought to justice.”
“On the first day the FBI joined this investigation, we committed to bringing the full weight of the Bureau to find who was responsible for Karylan’s death and to serve justice,” said FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Gordon Johnson. “We followed all logical leads here in Maryland and several other states, provided specialized expertise, and collectively with the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the U.S. Army CID, we were able to keep our promise. The citizens of Maryland have the FBI’s commitment that we will work with our local, state, and federal partners to remove violent criminals from their neighborhoods.”
“I greatly appreciate the extremely hard work and dedication shown by our detectives, Army CID, The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. From the moment we found Ms. Ramirez and her daughter, nothing has been easy with this case. This investigation is a case study in teamwork and tenacity! We are so gratified to be able to bring Ms. Ramirez justice,” said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare.
"We are extremely pleased with today's sentencing and sincerely hope in some small way today's outcome helps to give the Ramirez family a bit of closure," said Christopher Grey, spokesman for Army CID. "Our agents, in concert with our other law enforcement partners, worked tirelessly to solve this case and bring the guilty to justice for this despicable crime. It clearly demonstrates no matter how cunning a criminal may think they are, we will uncover the truth,” Grey said.
According to the evidence presented at Kearney’s 11-day trial, Kearney was married to Karlyn Ramirez, an active-duty soldier of the United States Army assigned to Fort Meade, Maryland, and they had a four-month-old daughter together. Ramirez was found shot to death in her off-post residence on the morning of August 25, 2015. The baby, who was still alive, had been placed in the arms of Kearney’s deceased wife. Based on the evidence, the likely time of death was estimated to be the late evening hours of August 24, 2015.
Witnesses testified that at the time of Ramirez’s death, the couple had recently separated and Ramirez had obtained a protective order through the Army prohibiting all contact between her and Kearney.
The evidence presented at trial established that Kearney was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. On August 24, 2015, Kearney finished work in the early afternoon and traveled from South Carolina to Severn, Maryland. Kearney entered Ramirez’s townhouse using his key and brandished a Taurus .357-caliber revolver. Ramirez attempted to calm her husband but she reiterated that she did not want to reconcile with him. Kearney then shot Ramirez three times at close range, killing her. According to the evidence presented, Kearney then took off her pants and pulled down her underwear in an attempt to make it look like a sexual assault. He also placed their four-month-old daughter in Ramirez’s arms.
Kearney’s girlfriend, Delores Delgado, testified at trial that she provided the firearm that killed Ramirez and allowed Kearney to drive her car from South Carolina to Maryland to commit the murder. The evidence at trial proved that Delgado also purchased large gas cans for Kearney to take with him, so that he would not have to stop for gas and risk being seen. According to witness testimony, during the murder, Kearney’s girlfriend, who lived in Florida at the time, stayed at Kearney’s apartment in South Carolina with his phone and vehicle to create his alibi, so that it would later appear to law enforcement that Kearney had been in South Carolina at the time of the murder. After the murder, Delgado and a third party went to a waterway in Florida and disposed of the firearm, shell casings, Kearney’s clothing worn during the murder, and the key he used to enter the townhouse. Delgado, at Kearney’s direction, also dismantled the revolver and took steps to obliterate the serial number. The firearm was subsequently recovered by law enforcement divers and forensic testing determined that it was indeed the gun used by Kearney to shoot Karlyn Ramirez to death.
On September 7, 2018, Judge Russell, taking into account her cooperation, sentenced Dolores Delgado, age 33, of San Antonio, Texas, to 204 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The U.S. Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI Baltimore, Army CID, and Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation, and thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas and FBI San Antonio for their assistance. Mr. Hur also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys James G. Warwick and Kenneth S. Clark, who prosecuted the case.
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