Body of Man Accused of Killing Judge Is Found

Pedro Argote had been the subject of a weeklong manhunt in Maryland
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2023 1:15 PM CDT
SUV Belonging to Suspect in Maryland Judge's Murder Found
FILE - This undated photo provided by Washington County Sheriff's Office, Maryland shows Pedro Argote.   (Washington County Sheriff's Office, Maryland via AP)
UPDATE Oct 26, 2023 1:15 PM CDT

The body of a man accused of killing a Maryland judge has been found in a wooded area relatively close to the shooting, reports the AP. The discovery of the body of Pedro Argote, 49, on Thursday ends a weeklong manhunt. He is accused of fatally shooting Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who had ruled against him in a divorce case only hours earlier, outside the judge's home.

Oct 23, 2023 12:00 AM CDT

A vehicle belonging to the man suspected of murdering a Maryland judge hours after the judge ruled against him in a divorce and custody case was found Saturday, shifting the search area in the ongoing manhunt for the suspect. Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot dead Thursday night, and police announced the manhunt for suspect Pedro Argote, 49, Friday. The following morning, a resident of Williamsport, Maryland, found Argote's SUV, NBC News reports. That city is near the West Virginia border, causing the parameters of the search area to change, but after a day of searching the remote wooded area, authorities concluded Argote had left the immediate area and concluded the search there, the Washington Post reports. It was not clear how long the SUV had been there.

Wilkinson cited a finding of "cruelty of treatment" and "irreconcilable differences" in his ruling Thursday, which granted Argote's ex-wife sole legal custody of their four children and barred Argote from contacting or visiting his ex or the children or entering the family home. While deputies had responded to reports of "verbal domestics" (basically, loud fights) at the home recently, the Washington County sheriff said he did not know of any police reports related to physical abuse claims. Argote's ex had, in 2022, alleged abuse by Argote against one of their daughters in a domestic violence petition, in which she said she was frightened of him trying to take the kids from her and felt unsafe because he kept himself armed. The petition was ultimately dismissed. The US Marshals Service says Argote could be headed to New York, Florida, or North Carolina, the New York Post reports. (More Maryland stories.)

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