Suspect in fatal shooting of judge has been found dead, sheriff’s office says

A man suspected in the fatal shooting of a Maryland judge has been found dead, officials announced Thursday.

The suspect, Pedro Argote, shot and killed Washington County Circuit Judge Andrew Wilkinson on October 19, hours after the judge ruled against him in a child custody case, authorities said.

Argote’s body was found in a heavily wooded area about a mile from where his vehicle was found on Saturday, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook Thursday.

“On October 26, 2023, at approximately 11:00 AM, during an expanded evidentiary search in the Williamsport, MD area, a deceased person was located,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “The deceased individual has been positively identified as Pedro Argote, the suspect wanted for the murder of Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson.”

A news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

Wilkinson, a county circuit court judge, was in his own driveway – with his wife and son at home – when he was shot, Albert said.

Wilkinson’s death spurred a wave of heightened security for judges throughout the county. “Out of precautionary reasons, last night troopers were deployed to protect judges residing in Washington County,” Maryland State Police said Friday.

The court where Wilkinson worked employed a “high-level” of security, and all judges and court personnel received increased security following Wilkinson’s death, Circuit Court Administrative Judge Brett Wilson told CNN.

Wilkinson’s killing marks the latest in a series of threats and attacks against judges or their families. More than 1,300 threats or possible threats among federal court personnel were investigated in fiscal year 2022, according to the US Marshals Service.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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