Wife of murdered Hagerstown judge speaks, testifies in support of judicial security bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (DC News Now) — The wife of murdered Maryland Judge Andrew Wilkinson spoke out publicly about her husband’s death and her pleas for change Wednesday in Annapolis.

Stephanie Wilkinson testified before the Maryland Judiciary Proceedings Committee in support of a new push for security for court workers, the Judge Andrew F. Wilkinson Judicial Security Act, named after her late husband.

On Oct. 19, 2023, police say Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot and killed outside his Hagerstown home by a defendant whose child custody case he oversaw in his courtroom earlier that same day.

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In her testimony, Stephanie Wilkinson said Pedro Argote, the now-deceased man accused in her husband’s murder, had started making online searches for information about him last summer, months before he allegedly carried out the ambush attack at their Hagerstown home.

This new legislation would allow people working in the state’s court system to have that same information removed or shielded from public view online.

“My family is the victim of an attack on a cornerstone of our country, our judicial process. If we do not step in and offer our judiciary the protection and the privacy they should have, we will surely watered down the strength of the judicial system by getting less qualified candidates to fill those positions,” said Stephanie Wilkinson.

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The legislation, also known as Senate Bill 0575, would ensure protections for the removal of personal information like home addresses. It would apply to the Internet in general, but also specifically social media platforms and online publications.

“I am devastated that I lost my husband, but my heart is beyond repair. That my children have lost their father,” Stephanie Wilkinson said. “Please help make things right by supporting this bill. By doing so, you will assure my children, and the children Drew saved that day in this domestic case, that he did not die in vain.”

The bill is still in the early early stages of the legislative process, but has strong bipartisan support.

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