The gunman who killed five employees at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland in 2018 was sentenced Tuesday to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole.
A judge in Anne Arundel County imposed the sentence for Jarrod Ramos, 41, who in July was found criminally responsible for gunning down five workers in the paper’s newsroom on June 28, 2018, while intending to kill as many people as possible.
Ramos, who claimed he wasn’t criminally responsible for the slayings when he pleaded guilty to all 23 counts he faced in 2019, had used Maryland’s version of an insanity plea, but a jury dismissed that claim in July after deliberating for less than two hours.
Anne Arundel Police via AP
Prosecutors said Ramos, who wore a black mask in court, acted out of revenge against the newspaper after it published an article about his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge that he harassed a high school classmate in 2011.
Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the Capital Gazette the following year, but the filing was tossed. Prosecutors said Ramos then planned the attack for years, ultimately carrying out the plot and killing Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith with a shotgun. Ramos then called 911 and identified himself to cops.
Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs handed down the sentence in one of the worst attacks on US journalists in history while noting that Ramos was an unrepentant killer who told a state psychiatrist he would commit more murders if ever released.
“The impact of this case is just simply immense,” Wachs said. “To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement.”
Ramos declined to speak in court Tuesday, but survivors of the shooting and relatives of the five victims spoke about the attack.
“The day she died was the worst day of my life,” Montana Winters Geimer, daughter of Wendi Winters, told Wachs. “The hours spent not knowing if she was alive or dead have lived in my nightmares ever since.” SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images AP/Julio Cortez
Selene San Felice, a reporter who hid under a desk during the shooting, also recalled the Annapolis newsroom massacre.
“There were days I wondered why I lived or if I should live at all,” she said, according to the Washington Post. “I live to spread the truth … We will press on.”
During Ramos’ trial, his attorneys claimed three mental disorders fed his fixation against the Capital Gazette, but prosecutors said he plotted the attack after failing to have the 2011 article removed. Erik Thomas/NY Post
Ramos previously told Wachs in a letter that he did not “wish to litigate anything more” after his request for an earlier sentencing date was denied last month, the Washington Post reported.
With Post wires