In an announcement made by State’s Attorney Jaymi Sterling, it was revealed that Wayne Carroll Key, Jr. has been sentenced to Life without parole, consecutively to Life in prison for the heinous crime of double homicide. The victims were a six-year-old child and her mother, and the incident took place on November 20, 2021, in Leonardtown, Maryland.
In April 2023, after an eight-day jury trial, Key was found guilty by a St. Mary’s County jury of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and two counts of first-degree assault. The Honorable Joseph M. Stanalonis, the presiding judge during the sentencing hearing, described the case as “a circumstantial evidence case in its entirety” that was “very compelling and substantial.” The case included over 200 pieces of evidence and testimony from more than forty witnesses.
Sterling expressed that intentionally taking the life of an innocent child to hide the primary murder, where the child was the only witness, is an exceptionally heartless act. The defendant brutally and senselessly killed the child’s mother, and upon realizing that the child had seen the murder, deliberately and maliciously killed the child. Sterling hopes that the family of the victims can find solace in knowing that the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison.
During the sentencing proceedings, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Proctor, who is also the Chief of the Special Victims Unit, stood for the State and represented the citizens of St. Mary’s County.
The lead investigator in the case was Detective Tyler Payne, who serves in the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
Judge Joseph M. Stanalonis was responsible for overseeing the case.
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