5 Life Terms for Shooter in Newspaper Killings

Jarrod Ramos used insanity plea in 'Capital Gazette' killings of 5 journalists in Maryland
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 28, 2021 12:12 PM CDT
5 Life Terms for Shooter in Newspaper Killings
This June 28, 2018, photo provided by the Anne Arundel Police shows Jarrod Ramos in Annapolis, Md. Ramos, who killed five people at a Maryland newspaper three years earlier, was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life sentences for one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.   (Anne Arundel Police via AP, File)

A man who killed five people at a newspaper in Maryland was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole. Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs ordered the sentence for Jarrod Ramos, whom a jury previously found criminally responsible for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamera, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, and Rebecca Smith with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette office in June 2018, per the AP. Ramos had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him in 2019, using Maryland’s version of an insanity defense.

Before announcing the sentence, the judge noted that Ramos showed no remorse for the crimes and even told a state psychiatrist he would kill more if he were 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, who sat in court wearing a black mask, declined to make a statement in court when asked by his attorney, Katy O’Donnell.

After a 12-day trial in July, a jury took less than two hours to reject arguments from Ramos' attorneys that he could not understand the criminality of his actions. Prosecutors contend Ramos, 41, acted out of revenge against the newspaper after it published a story about his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of harassing a former high school classmate in 2011. Prosecutors said his long, meticulous planning for the attack—which included preparations for his arrest and long incarceration—proved he understood the criminality of his actions. (Read more Capital Gazette shooting stories.)

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