ON a hot summer day in August 2015, a maintenance worker noticed the back door to Karlyn Ramirez’ Maryland home was open.

When nobody answered from inside, he called the police – and what they found was a horrific crime scene.

Single mum Karlyn, 24, was lying dead in a pool of blood – with her four-month-old baby cradled in her arms.

She had been shot three times by jealous ex-husband Maliek, egged on by his girlfriend – and had lain undiscovered all night while still holding her unharmed baby.

University dropout Karlyn had joined the US army at the age of 21 and, on her first posting to South Korea she met and fell in love with Sergeant Maliek Kearney.

Theirs was a stormy relationship, mainly due to Maliek’s cheating, but Karlyn fell pregnant and, in April 2015, their baby girl is born in the US.

The couple wed a few weeks later but the relationship soon broke down.

By August, the couple were living 300 miles apart, with Karlyn raising her daughter in Fort Meade, Maryland, while Maliek was based in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Maliek was also dating Dolores Delgado – his lover throughout his relationship with Karlyn.

Keen to move on, Karlyn told Maliek she wanted a divorce but he was furious, bombarding her with angry texts.

She blocked his number and took out a restraining order against her ex.

But on the night of August 24, Maliek drove 300 miles to Maryland – with a gun bought by Dolores – and gunned down his ex-wife in cold blood.

With his daughter still lying in Karlyn’s arms, he callously pulled down Karlyn’s clothing to make it look like she had been sexually assaulted.

Then he drove 200 miles back to the home where Dolores was waiting.

After being told of the murder, Maliek posted a picture of their wedding day on social media with the message: “I’m so heartbroken but you will live on with me forever. I don’t want to say goodbye… still seems so unreal.”

Despite playing the grieving widow, Maliek was the prime suspect but he had an iron-clad alibi.

Phone records placed him at his home in South Carolina – over 300 miles away – and even Karlyn’s family believed him, comforting him in his 'grief'.

But after police found Karlyn had not been sexually assaulted and nothing had been stolen, the investigation kept coming back to him

After a year of digging, police arrested Maliek and Dolores – who shopped him for a plea deal and made a full confession.

She told police she had given the revolver to Maliek before he drove to Karlyn’s home and lent him her Nissan car, because it was less distinctive than his Jaguar

She also worked out how much petrol he needed, filling up petrol cans so he wouldn’t have to stop at petrol stations and get caught on CCTV.

Dolores, who lived in Florida, then stayed at Maliek’s home and sent messages to make it look like he was with her.

In the 2018 trial, Dolores pleaded guilty to the federal crime of crossing state lines to commit domestic violence while Maliek pleaded not guilty.

Dolores told the court he couldn’t accept the divorce.

She said: “If he couldn’t have his family back together, no man was going to raise his daughter.”

She revealed that she had dismantled the revolver and disposed of it in Banana River in Florida with Maliek’s clothes and the key he’d used to enter Karlyn’s home.

Divers had found the weapon and matched it to the bullets in Karlyn’s body.

Dolores wept on the stand, claiming she was frightened by Maliek.

He said: “I was having nightmares that he was choking me or he would hurt me in some way. I was having nightmares about getting arrested.”

She said she was upset Maliek was still close to his in-laws, saying: ”He was visiting his dead wife’s grave.

“Her family was welcoming him in, and I was not comfortable with that happening – the family not knowing who he was,.

“I was upset he was playing this role of ‘poor him, a widower’ and letting her family comfort him. They should’ve been the ones being comforted.”

But the prosecution revealed chilling text messages that Dolores had sent Maliek before and after the killing.

He doesn’t deserve to walk among us. He is a cold, callous, calculating sociopath.

A meme she sent Maliek days before the murder read: “Remember if we get caught, you’re deaf and I don’t speak English.”

She said she expected to be caught for a year but she never came forward to confess.

In August 2018, Maliek was found guilty abd Karlyn’s mum Susan made a statement pleading for a heavy sentence.

She said: “My pain would likely give him a level of satisfaction. He doesn’t deserve to walk among us.

“He is a cold, callous, calculating sociopath. Keep this man away from society. He has no respect for women.”

The judge said: “The killing was without mercy,You shot her at close range. Three times the bullets went inside her. You could have stopped that.”

Still protesting his innocence, Maliek said: “There is no moment that I don’t miss Karlyn.

“The love that I have for her grows stronger as each day passes.” But the judge told him he didn’t believe that.

Maliek, 37, was sentenced to life in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay nearly £382,000 to his wife’s family.

In September 2018, Dolores, 33, was sentenced to 17 years in prison.