The scene inside a Maryland home was startling: a soldier from Fort Meade shot dead but with her 4-month-old daughter, alive, resting in her arms.
On Tuesday, a woman pleaded guilty in federal court to helping plot the August 2015 death and providing the victim’s estranged husband an alibi while he allegedly carried out the crime, federal prosectors said.
When Karlyn Ramirez died at 24, she was married to Maliek Kearney, another active-duty soldier and the father of her baby, according to prosecutors who said the two had separated and that Ramirez had a protective order through the Army against Kearney.
Ramirez was assigned to Fort Meade and he was posted to Fort Jackson, S.C.
In Tuesday’s guilty plea, Dolores Delgado, 32, who lived in Florida at the time of the killing, admitted staying at the South Carolina apartment of the victim’s husband with his phone and car to create a facade that he was at home during the shooting, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.
Delgado pleaded guilty to interstate travel to commit domestic violence resulting in death in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
Court records indicate the case against Kearney is pending. Kearney and Delgado were indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 4, 2016, court records show.
Kearney allegedly staged the crime scene to make it appear to be a deadly sexual assault: removing his wife’s pants, pulling down her underwear and placing their daughter in her arms, prosecutors said
The crime was discovered when a maintenance worker noticed a back sliding door open at a home in Severn, Md., and called in.
When he got no reply, he alerted Anne Arundel County Police, police spokesman Marc Limansky said.
Authorities investigated the death of Ramirez at her off-post residence in the 8000 block of Millstone Court for about a year. “It was a very difficult and in-depth investigation involving multiple agencies,” Limansky said.
Kearney allegedly finished work in the early afternoon of Aug. 24, 2015, and drove Delgado’s car from South Carolina to Maryland. In the car with him were large cans of gas for the road, bought by Delgado, so he wouldn’t have to stop along the way, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.
As he traveled, Delgado stayed at his house with his phone and car, prosecutors said.
Kearney used his keys to enter Ramirez’s house, the prosecution alleged.
Ramirez tried to calm him while repeating she did not want to see him again, said prosecutors, who allege Kearney used a Taurus .357 caliber revolver, bought by Delgado, to fire three times at Ramirez, killing her.
Somewhere in a Florida waterway, according to prosecutors’ statement of the plea, Delgado threw away evidence: the gun, shell casings, clothing worn during the killing and the key to Ramirez’s house.
Despite Delgado’s attempts to cover up the crime, such as dismantling the weapon and “steps to obliterate the serial number,” law enforcement divers were able to retrieve the gun and link it to Ramirez’s shooting, prosecutors said in a statement.
Delgado remains detained pending a scheduled sentencing Nov. 20.