The Latest: Judge accepts guilty plea in newspaper killings

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Latest on a plea entered by a Maryland man in the slayings five staffers at an Annapolis newspaper (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

A judge has accepted a Maryland man’s guilty plea in the slayings five staffers at an Annapolis newspaper, and a jury is expected to hear testimony within weeks about whether he was not responsible by reason of insanity.

Jarrod Ramos pleaded guilty Monday in the massacre at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis in 2018. Judge Laura Ripken accepted his plea later that afternoon.

Ripken said she determined that Ramos “freely, knowingly and voluntarily” waived his right to a jury trial to determine his guilt or innocence.

The 39-year-old Ramos had originally pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible. The latter term is Maryland’s version of an insanity defense.

Authorities say Ramos stormed the newspaper office in June 2018 with a shotgun and killed John McNamara, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman and Rob Hiaasen. It was one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history.

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2:40 p.m.

A man accused of killing five staffers at Maryland newspaper last year has pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

Attorney Katy O’Donnell said Monday that Jarrod Ramos pleaded guilty to all 23 charges in the indictment, including five counts of first-degree murder.

Ramos is accused of killing employees of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis in 2018.

His plea means the case will skip the first phase of determining guilt and move to a second phase of determining whether he is criminally responsible.

The 39-year-old Ramos had originally pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible. The latter term is Maryland’s version of an insanity defense.

O’Donnell’s remarks came during a pretrial hearing in Annapolis.

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