Sitting at the courtroom bench in his judge’s robes for the first time in January after being sworn in as a Washington County Circuit Court’ now murdered associate judge, Andrew “Drew” F. Wilkinson had a “big list of thank you’s.”

They included Gov. Larry Hogan, who had appointed him, the nominating committee, his family, including his children and wife, Stephanie, friends, clients, and the other candidates for the judgeship.

It also included retired Judge Frederick C. Wright III, whom Wilkinson said had helped guide his career.

They first met around 1983 when Wright hired Wilkinson’s mom, Elizabeth, as a law clerk when Drew was 12. Until then, Wilkinson had moved around as part of a military family, he said. When his mom got the job, Hagerstown became home.

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Of becoming a judge in his hometown, Wilkinson said after the ceremony, “It was an honor and it was humbling, and I was happy to serve.”

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Wilkinson had aspired to become a judge to serve the community.

Addressing the more than 100 people at the Washington County Courthouse for his ceremony, Wilkinson read a statement provided by the Franklin County (Pa.) Bar Association when his great-grandfather, Watson Davison, retired from his career as a Franklin County judge.

The statement highlighted that Davison’s judgments were always well-reasoned, thoroughly considered, and prioritized the law, Wilkinson said. It also emphasized Davison’s courtesy and fairness to litigants and attorneys.

Wilkinson explained that this “standard” had sat on his desk throughout his career as an attorney, and he expressed his commitment to uphold it.

He also took the time to thank his wife for her unwavering support and encouragement throughout his career.

Attorney M. Lynn Williams, a former co-worker of Wilkinson, described him as approachable with a “judicial temperament.” She praised his even-keeled nature, his ability to get along with people, and his genuine care for others. She noted that he was kind, fair, and knowledgeable.

County Attorney and Interim County Administrator Kirk Downey also commended Wilkinson, highlighting his kindness, pleasant demeanor, and fairness. Downey mentioned that Wilkinson was a graduate of Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy.

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Wilkinson’s appointment as the sixth judge for Washington County Circuit Court was significant, given the caseload that had warranted the need for an additional judge, as noted by Judge Daniel P. Dwyer, the administrative judge.

Before his judgeship, Wilkinson had operated a solo legal practice, having previously worked alongside land-use attorney Jason Divelbiss.

Wilkinson’s journey to becoming a judge had included a nomination for a circuit court position in 2016 and being a pool candidate in 2017. A 1994 graduate of the University of North Carolina, he earned his law degree in 1997 from Emory University School of Law. His legal experience encompassed various levels of Maryland courts, from district to the Court of Appeals, and spanned areas such as real estate, zoning, family law, and civil litigation.

Following law school, Wilkinson served as a law clerk at the local circuit court, working alongside Judges John H. McDowell, W. Kennedy Boone, and Donald E. Beachley.