Georgia high school football coach held without bond in Maryland girlfriend’s strangling death

State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy and Ellen Opdyke speak about the charges against a high school football coach who allegedly confessed to killing his girlfriend.(WTOP/Scott Gelman)

A Georgia man who coached high school football is being held without bond after Maryland officials say he confessed to strangling his girlfriend to death last weekend.

Carl Kearney Jr., 43, was denied bail Tuesday. He is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the killing of 38-year-old Patrina Best.

The State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County Aisha Braveboy said the two were in an “on and off again relationship.”

Police said Kearney told them the two were arguing on Saturday morning when he strangled Best until she lost consciousness at her home in the 800 block of St. James Court in Accokeek.

“Once he realized that she was unconscious, he told police officers that he slapped her to try and quote ‘bring her back'” said Ellen Opdyke, assistant chief of the special victims unit. “But unfortunately, she had already passed away.”

Kearney then took Best’s vehicle and drove to Virginia. He called police, who told him he needed to contact Prince George’s county authorities, Opdyke said.

He then drove back to Maryland and confessed to the killing at a police station in Clinton, officials said.

When police reached the home, they found Best “unresponsive in the basement,” according to charging documents. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Best’s family is “heartbroken,” Braveboy said.

“They were unable to be with us today in court due to the grief that they are suffering because of this loss,” Braveboy said.

Kearney coached football at Spalding High School in Georgia.

WTOP has reached out to the school system for further information about the current status of Kearney’s employment but hasn’t heard back.

A preliminary hearing for Kearney is scheduled for March 18.

Braveboy said there has been an increase in other family relations, and she called strangulation the “most heinous form” of domestic violence.

“We remain vigilant anyone who commits domestic violence here in Prince George’s County will be prosecuted. We will pursue the toughest sanctions against you because this cannot and will not be tolerated,” Braveboy said.

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Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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