Judge: Sentencing date won’t change for Md. newsroom gunman

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The gunman found criminally responsible in the shooting deaths of five people at a Maryland newspaper still will be sentenced late next month despite the attacker’s request to speed up the process, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Jarrod Ramos, who carried out the 2018 shooting attack in the Capital Gazette’s newsroom, wrote Judge Michael Wachs last week expressing his desire to be “sentenced as soon as possible.”

Wachs, the prosecutor’s office and the defense attorneys had agreed to a Sept. 28 sentencing date. Ramos also raised concern in an Aug. 1 letter that his attorneys were no longer representing him well, The Washington Post reported.

Wachs said he called the hearing so Ramos’ concerns could be heard. Ramos said Wednesday he had resolved his disputes with his attorneys but still wanted to address the sentencing date.

The judge agreed with Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, who opposed moving up the sentencing date. She said survivors and family members of the victims had already booked travel for the original date to attend.

John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith were killed in the newsroom attack.

Ramos pleaded guilty to all 23 counts against him in 2019 but pleaded not criminally responsible — Maryland’s version of an insanity plea. A jury last month decided that Ramos was legally sane and therefore criminally responsible for the killings.

Prosecutors have filed notice that they’re seeking at least five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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