Capital Gazette shooter will be confronted with defiance at sentencing hearing

Following the trial that found Jarrod Ramos criminally responsible for killing five people at a Maryland newspaper, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitiss told victims of the Capital Gazette shooting that she did everything she could not to give Ramos what he wanted.

In particular, she made sure not to call people he was hoping would testify — people he could look at on the witness stand.

Later, she argued against and knocked down a motion to speed up Ramos’ sentencing, knowing some of those victimized by the shooting would be traveling from long distances to have what would be the final say in the matter. Ramos could receive five life terms without the possibility of parole for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamera, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith.

Their words will be heard for hours on Tuesday, and Ramos, who coldly sat through every hearing and every trial never saying a word — sometimes even refusing to even acknowledge the judge when the judge spoke to him — will have to sit through it all.

In some cases, anguish, grief, and anger will spill out. So will the defiance of victims eager to make sure they get the last word.

“I plan on addressing him,” said Summerleigh Geimer, the daughter of slain reporter Wendi Winters.

Winters traveled from Wisconsin to speak at the sentencing hearing.

“I’m not going to cry that time. It’s been three years and every time I think I’m fine to talk … I cry. Again.”

Joining Geimer in the courtroom will be her sister, Montana.

“He killed our mom at a very formative time in our lives,” Geimer said. “She missed both of my sisters’ weddings. She missed the birth of her first grandchild. She’s going to be missing my wedding. She missed me graduating college. She’s literally missed so many of these important milestones and I want to address that our family has been able to weather that storm.”

Other victims expected to talk include Andrea Chamblee, whose husband John McNamara was one of the five people killed.

Some of what will be said is likely going to refute the things learned during the trial, when Ramos lamented not killing everyone he had hoped to kill, and then disparaged those he did kill, like editor Gerald Fischman and Winters, whose efforts to fight back during the shooting earned her posthumous praise for her heroism, and scorn from Ramos.

“It’s still a very emotional, traumatic event to discuss sometimes,” said Geimer. “But I’m going to show a lot of resiliency in addressing him and I’m going to tell him that he’s a big piece of [fecal matter].

“We are resilient and we refuse to back down and we’re going to press on and we’re going to discuss the legend of Wendi Winters at length,” she added. “And I’ll be fine if I never say his name again.”

WTOP will a team of reporters at Ramos’ sentencing. Follow the coverage throughout the day.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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