The Onslow County Superior Court has decided that the state will prosecute the man accused of the murder of 3-year-old Mariah Woods for capital murder.
Fourth Prosecutorial District Attorney Ernie Lee’s request for the death penalty against Adolphus Earl Kimrey II was granted by an Onslow County Superior Court judge on Monday.
Kimrey, 32, was led into the courtroom on Monday wearing an orange jumpsuit. If he is convicted in Mariah’s death, he will face the death penalty. The last time someone was sent to death row in Onslow County was 2001.
Kimrey was originally arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, concealing a death, second-degree burglary and larceny after breaking or entering on Dec. 1.
The Fayetteville Police Department found Mariah’s body in a creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County on Dec. 2.
On Jan. 24 Kimrey was charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.
An arrest warrant accused Kimrey of “removing Mariah Woods’ body from the scene of her death” and alleged that he “did conceal Mariah Woods death and body, knowing that Mariah Woods died from unnatural causes. The defendant acted with deceit and intent to defraud.”
An Onslow County grand jury indicted him on Feb. 14 on the first round of charges.
Kimrey reported Mariah missing on Nov. 27. He told a dispatcher that the last time Mariah was seen was the night before when everyone in the home went to bed, between 8 and 8:30 p.m.
In the 7-minute 911 call placed about 6 a.m., Kimrey is heard breathing heavily.
“Our 3-year-old is nowhere to be found,” Kimrey said in the call. “We have looked everywhere in our house and out in our yard, and our little girl, she’s missing.”
He was the live-in boyfriend of Mariah Woods’ mother, Kristy Woods.
Previous news reports said Mariah was last seen by her mother, who put her to bed at 11 p.m. on Nov. 26.
Mariah’s autopsy revealed she died of chloroform toxicity.
Warrant documents said witnesses told Onslow County deputies they saw Kimrey place an object “bigger than a book bag” in a van registered to Kristy Woods around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 26.
Investigators seized a pink jacket, zip ties, children’s clothing, carpet sections and swabs from the seats from the 1996 Plymouth van.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI launched nearly a weeklong search for Mariah in late November when Kimrey reported her missing. Based on the evidence gathered throughout the investigation, she was presumed dead.
Alex Woods, Mariah’s biological father, had been in a custody dispute over Mariah and her two brothers with Kristy Woods during the child’s disappearance.
In unverified Child Protective Service documents, Alex Woods alleges that Kimrey sexually abused Mariah and physically abused the two boys.