Capital Gazette gunman to be sentenced to prison in September

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

The gunman who pleaded guilty to the 2018 murders of five Capital Gazette employees will be sentenced to prison on Sept. 28 — exactly three years and three months after he blasted through the glass doors of the newsroom, murdering Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.

Jarrod Ramos is facing five life-without-parole sentences for the murders of Fischman, Hiaasen, McNamara, Smith and Winters; a sentence of life with the possibility of parole for the attempted murder of photojournalist Paul Gillespie; six sentences of up 25 years for first-degree assault of the survivors of the attack; and an additional 20 years for each of 11 counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Ramos’ disdain toward the newspaper began in 2011 when it published a column detailing his guilty plea in a harassment lawsuit filed by a former classmate. Alleging the column was libelous, he waged years’ worth of lawsuits against the paper, its former publisher, the columnist and his former classmate, among others.

Following several appeals, his case was dismissed in 2015.

According to Dr. Sameer Patel, a forensic psychiatrist at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center who evaluated Ramos after the shooting, Ramos began planning to attack the Capital Gazette in early 2016.

Ramos pleaded guilty to all 23 counts against him on Oct. 28, 2019 — two days before jury selection for his criminal proceeding was set to begin. He was found criminally responsible on last week after a three-week-long trial.

Pleas of not criminally responsible — Maryland’s version of an insanity plea — are entered when a defendant alleges that they were so incapacitated by mental illness that they could not understand the criminality of their behavior or conform to the standards of the law.

Despite being diagnosed with five different mental disorders by multiple doctors, the verdict declaring that Ramos was sane at the time of the shooting was delivered in under two hours.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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