A man suspected of killing a Maryland judge outside his home last week was found dead on Thursday morning, ending a weeklong manhunt, the local authorities said.
The suspect, Pedro Argote, 49, was wanted for murder in the death of Judge Andrew Wilkinson of the Maryland Circuit Courts, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Maryland said in a statement.
Mr. Argote was found during “an expanded evidentiary search” around Williamsport, Md., less than 10 miles from the state’s northern border. His body was discovered in a heavily wooded area.
It was not immediately clear how Mr. Argote had died. At a news conference on Thursday, Sheriff Brian K. Albert of Washington County said that Mr. Argote’s remains would be taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.
He added that he had spoken to the judge’s family since Mr. Argote’s body was found.
“It brings a little bit of closure to them but it’s still a tragedy,” he said after speaking to them. “They lost a husband, father and brother.”
The authorities began searching for Mr. Argote after Judge Wilkinson was found around 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 in his driveway in Hagerstown, Md., about 75 miles northwest of Baltimore. He had suffered from what appeared to be gunshot wounds, officials from the county sheriff’s office said.
Judge Wilkinson was taken to an area hospital and later died of his injuries.
His wife and son were home at the time of the shooting, the authorities said.
The sheriff’s office named Mr. Argote as a suspect in its preliminary homicide investigation.
On the day he was shot, Judge Wilkinson had presided over a hearing in a divorce case that had started last year, in which Mr. Argote was the plaintiff. He had issued a partial judgment of divorce at the hearing, court records show.
At a news conference on Friday, Sheriff Albert said that Judge Wilkinson had awarded custody of Mr. Argote’s children to his partner at the previous day’s hearing.
Mr. Argote had not attended the hearing, the sheriff said.
He added that the killing was a “targeted attack” and said that Mr. Argote was “armed and dangerous.”
As a precaution, other judges in the county were placed under police protection overnight last week.
Born in Guam, Judge Wilkinson had degrees from the University of North Carolina and the Emory University School of Law, according to the Washington County Circuit Court. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1997 and worked as an assistant attorney for the county from 2006 to 2012. Judge Wilkinson was sworn in as a circuit court judge in Washington County in 2020.