Five life terms for Maryland newspaper gunman

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Five Life Terms For Maryland Newspaper Gunman
Jarrod Ramos, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Brian Witte, AP

A judge has sentenced a man who killed five people at a newspaper to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In July, a jury found Jarrod 41-year-old Ramos criminally responsible for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamera, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette’s office in June 2018.

Ramos had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him in 2019, using the US state of Maryland’s version of an insanity defence.

After a 12-day trial in July, a jury took less than two hours to reject arguments from Ramos’ lawyers that he could not understand the criminality of his actions.

The case was delayed several times before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs ordered the sentence for Ramos on Tuesday.

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Before announcing the sentence, the judge noted that Ramos showed no remorse over his crimes and even told a state psychiatrist he would kill more if he were ever released.

“The impact of this case is just simply immense,” Judge Wachs said.

“To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement.”

Ramos, who sat in court wearing a black mask, declined to make a statement in court when asked by his attorney, Katy O’Donnell.

Prior to sentencing, survivors of the Capital Gazette newspaper shooting and relatives of the five victims described the pain and loss they have experienced before Judge Wachs.

Montana Winters Geimer, the daughter of Wendi Winters, testified how her mother “woke up one morning, went to work and never came back”.

“The day she died was the worst day of my life,” Ms Geimer told Judge Wachs.

“The hours spent not knowing if she was alive or dead have lived in my nightmares ever since.”

Ramos committed the homicides with a shotgun at the newspaper in June 2018 in one of the worst attacks on journalists in US history.

Prosecutors contended Ramos acted out of revenge against the newspaper after it published a story about his guilty plea to a misdemeanour charge of harassing a former high school classmate in 2011.

Lawyers said his long, meticulous planning for the attack – which included preparations for his arrest and incarceration – proved he understood the criminality of his actions.

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