Man receives life sentence without parole and additional life imprisonment for killing a mother and her 6-year-old daughter

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Jaymi Sterling, the State’s Attorney, has made an announcement today regarding the sentencing of Wayne Carroll Key, Jr. The 44-year-old resident of Lexington Park, Maryland, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, in addition to a life sentence. This is in connection to the double homicide of a six-year-old child and her mother, which occurred on November 20, 2021, in Leonardtown, Maryland.

Wayne Carroll Key, Jr.
Wayne Carroll Key, Jr.

In April 2023, after an eight-day jury trial, Key was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and two counts of first-degree assault by a St. Mary’s County jury. The Honorable Joseph M. Stanalonis, the presiding judge, noted during the sentencing hearing that the case consisted entirely of circumstantial evidence, which was compelling and substantial. The evidence included over 200 pieces of evidence and testimony from more than forty witnesses.

Sterling expressed his outrage at the deliberate act of stealing an innocent child’s life to cover up an initial murder, where the child was unfortunately the sole eyewitness. The defendant had brutally and senselessly murdered the child’s mother, and upon realizing that the child had witnessed the heinous crime, consciously and maliciously killed again. Sterling offered his prayers to the victims’ family, hoping that they may 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, represented the citizens of St. Mary’s County on behalf of the State.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office lead investigator for the case was Detective Tyler Payne.

Judge Joseph M. Stanalonis oversaw the proceedings.

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