LISTEN: 911 call released of ‘stepdad’ accused of killing toddler Mariah Woods, as judge grants DA’s request for death penalty

The man accused of killing North Carolina toddler Mariah Woods will face a possible death sentence if convicted.

The News & Observer reports that on Monday, an Onslow County Superior Court judge approved the prosecution’s request for the death penalty against accused killer, Earl Kimrey. Earlier this month, District Attorney Ernie Lee announced that he would seek death after the suspect allegedly killed 3-year-old Mariah via chloroform poisoning. It’s been 16 years since anyone has faced the death penalty in Onslow County, but the given the heinousness of Mariah’s death, Lee saw the punishment as fitting with the crimes.

Kimrey entered the courtroom on Monday wearing a standard orange jail jumpsuit and pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. He’s facing numerous charges, with the most serious being first-degree felony murder and child abuse, inflicting “serious bodily injury.”

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Mariah’s mother, Kristy Woods, reported the little girl missing on November 27. She told police that her live-in boyfriend, Kimrey, checked in on the toddler at around 11 p.m. the previous night. The following morning, at around 6:45 a.m., the mother reported that her daughter was nowhere in site. Authorities found Mariah’s lifeless body in the creek on December 2, ending a nationwide AMBER Alert.

“My last memory of her was feeding her and putting her to bed,” Kristy Woods said. “I told her I loved her and she loved me.”

Kimrey was arrested a day prior to authorities discovering Mariah, on suspicion on concealing a death. When the Onslow County Medical Examiner’s Office announced that Mariah died from chloroform toxicity, his charges were upgraded to murder.

“These additional charges do not mean the investigation is concluded but [we] will continue until all leads and information is thoroughly evaluated,” the sheriff’s office said shortly after Kimrey’s upgraded charges were announced, according to People.

Kimrey remains behind bars without bail. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Earl Kimrey, Mariah Woods/Police Handout]