Jarrod Ramos Sentenced to Five Life Terms in Capital Gazette Attack

Jarrod W. Ramos had pleaded guilty to murder charges in one of the deadliest attacks on American journalists. In July, a jury found him criminally responsible for the 2018 shooting in Maryland’s capital.,

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The man who stormed into the newsroom of a community newspaper chain in Maryland’s capital in 2018, killing five staff members, was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life terms without the possibility of parole, according to prosecutors.

The man, Jarrod W. Ramos, 41, had pleaded guilty in October 2019 to 23 charges, including five counts of first-degree murder, for the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Annapolis on June 28, 2018, one of the deadliest attacks on American journalists.

The Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office announced the sentence after a two-hour hearing. The state’s attorney, Anne Colt Leitess, had asked for at least five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

The state’s attorney’s office said in a statement that the sentence included “one life sentence plus 345 years.” The sentences would run consecutively, it said.

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Jarrod W. RamosCredit…Anne Arundel Police, via Associated Press

Before the sentencing in Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, survivors of the shooting and relatives of the victims spoke, telling Judge Michael Wachs of the pain and their loss.

“The impact of this case is just simply immense,” Judge Wachs said, according to The Associated Press. “To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement.”

In July, a jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding that Mr. Ramos was sane at the time of the attack and criminally responsible for his actions.

Mr. Ramos’s lawyers had described him as a loner who was fueled by delusions and who believed that The Capital Gazette and the Maryland court system were conspiring against him.

Six survivors also testified at the trial, recalling the day that Mr. Ramos walked through their workplace with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing five colleagues: Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; Rob Hiaasen, 59, an editor and features columnist; John McNamara, 56, a sports reporter and editor for the local weekly papers; Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant; and Wendi Winters, 65, a local news reporter and community columnist.

Mr. Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against Capital Gazette Communications and several of its employees in July 2012, which a judge dismissed after Mr. Ramos could not identify anything that had been falsely reported or show that he had been harmed by the article.

Mr. Ramos had also used a Twitter account to taunt the reporter who wrote the article. He posted screenshots of court documents relating to the defamation case and railed against other newspaper employees. His tweets were laced with profanities, and often addressed employees directly.

On June 28, the third anniversary of the attack, the city of Annapolis dedicated a memorial to the victims, calling it “Guardians of the First Amendment.”

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