Man who killed 5 people in Maryland newspaper sentenced to life behind bars



A Maryland man who shot dead five people in a 2018 attack on the Capital Gazette was sentenced on Tuesday to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

Jarrod Ramos, 41, pleaded guilty in 2019 to 23 counts against him, but he pleaded not criminally responsible, which is Maryland’s version of an insanity plea.

A jury found in July that he was criminally responsible.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Michael Wachs said he was struck by Ramos’ lack of remorse.

“The impact of this affair is simply immense”, Wachs said. “To say that the accused displayed complete and callous disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply an understatement.”

Ramos, who was formally sentenced to six life sentences and 345 years behind bars, refused to address the court during Tuesday’s hearing. The judge added the sixth life sentence for the attempted murder of photographer Paul Gillespie and hundreds more years in prison for other charges.

Ramos opened fire on the office of the Annapolis newspaper on June 28, 2018, with a shotgun, in what authorities described as an act of revenge after the newspaper reported a criminal harassment case involving him.

He killed Rob Hiaasen, 59, associate editor; Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial page editor; sports journalist and editor John McNamara, 56; Wendi Winters, 65, journalist; and Rebecca Smith, 34, sales assistant.

Shooting survivors and relatives of the victims told Wachs how that day definitely changed their lives.

Montana Winters Geimer, Winters’ daughter, described the emotional torture she suffered before finally learning that her mother had died in the carnage.

“The day she died was the worst day of my life,” Geimer told court. “The hours of not knowing whether she was alive or dead have been living in my nightmares ever since.”

Ramos sued the newspaper and a reporter in a 2012 libel case after reporting that Ramos pleaded guilty to harassing a high school friend. A judge has dismissed Ramos’ trial.

Ramos had railed against the newspaper online, and in 2013 the newspaper filed harassment complaints against him. But in agreement with the Capital Gazette, police have halted the investigation for fear it will provoke him further, police said.

Defense attorneys argued that Ramos suffered from a delusional disorder, as well as autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and had become obsessed with the idea that the article had ruined his life.

Prosecutors said he planned the attack and methodically walked into the newsroom and “carried out an act of revenge against innocent victims,” ​​state prosecutor Anne Colt Leitess said. noted.

Defendant Jarrod Ramos, in green, appears in court in Annapolis, Md. On June 29, 2021.Kevin Richardson / The Baltimore Sun via AP File

Ramos pleaded guilty to 23 counts, including five counts of first degree murder.

He fired through the newsroom doors and entered the building where he killed his victims, officials said.

Flags were raised at half mast at the United States Capitol in honor of those killed, and Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed June 28 “Press Freedom Day” in their memory.

The Capital Gazette was honored with a Pulitzer Prize Citation for the response of journalists and staff following the attack.

The Associated Press and David K. Li contributed.



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