As in a horror movie case, a man shot down a Maryland judge at the entrance to his residence, where his wife and children were inside. The treacherous crime was recorded on the night of Thursday, October 19, hours after the magistrate had issued a ruling granting the divorce and granting exclusive custody of the four children to the ex-wife of Pedro Argote, the accused of the crime.
The homicide sent shockwaves through the legal community in Maryland and across the state, where the victim, Judge Andrew Wilkinson, 50, had been an associate judge in the Washington County Circuit Court since March 11, 2022.
The shooting death was attributed to Pedro Argote, 49, sparking a national search by law enforcement agencies in several states to locate him. However, Argote's body was located around 11 am on Thursday the 26th, between Clear Spring and Bottom roads, approximately 1 mile northwest of where his silver Mercedes, the vehicle in which he was trying to escape, was found on Saturday.
The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. on Thursday in the 19100 block of Olde Waterford Road, in the Hagerstown area of Washington County. Officers found Wilkinson at the entrance to his residence with multiple serious gunshot wounds and transported him to Meritus Medical Center, where he died shortly after.
Wilkinson had issued a ruling on Thursday the 19th in the Argote case, which officially granted the divorce and decided to grant sole custody of the couple's four children (aged 12, 11, 5 and 3) to their mother.
Additionally, the judge ordered Argote to have no contact with the children and to pay $1,120 a month in child support.
It was the second half of the couple's divorce hearing (the first was filed on September 29). Strangely, Argote was not present that Thursday, and it was learned that she had called by phone indicating that she had a physical condition.
The wife in turn had accused Argote of “cruel and abusive treatment” towards her and her children. She also filed for a protective order, alleging that he was harassing her via text messages, monitoring her every move, threatening to abuse her daughter and making false accusations against her. “I know he has his gun on him at all times,” she said.
On Thursday, during the last hearing, the woman confirmed the complaints, which were joined by the adult daughter of a relationship
previous, who said she spent most of her adolescence confined to her bedroom.
"The reason I mustered up the courage to testify was so that my brothers wouldn't have to go through the mental torment that I currently have," he told the court. Explaineither who left home at age 18 to escape the abuse and had not had contact with his father since.
Washington County Sheriff's deputies were offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect, who was considered "armed and dangerous." Until his body was found in a wooded area, as confirmed by the police.
Funeral services for Wilkinson will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Ann Catholic Church in Hagerstown, the family announced in an obituary.