Friday, July 16, 2021

Capital Gazette gunman found guilty of five murders

Three years ago in June, a gunman killed five employees at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. On Thursday, a jury found the shooter criminally responsible, rejecting his claim of mental illness. 

"The verdict means Jarrod Ramos will be sentenced to prison, not a maximum-security mental health facility, for one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in the U.S.," Brian Witte reports for The Associated Press. "Prosecutors are seeking five life sentences without the possibility of parole. The jury needed less than two hours to find that Ramos, 41, could understand the criminality of his actions and conform his conduct to the requirements of the law when he attacked the Capital Gazette."

The trial was mainly about whether Ramos was competent to stand trial. Photojournalist Paul Gillespie said he suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression since the attack. In court, he said of Ramos: "He’s evil; he’s not crazy. He deserves to be in prison, and I hope he gets all five life terms." A date has not been set for the sentencing, but the judge estimated it will happen in about two months, Witte reports.

"Ramos developed a long-running grudge against the newspaper after an article it published about his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of harassing a former high school classmate in 2011," Witte reports. "He filed a lawsuit against the paper in 2012, alleging he was defamed, but it was dismissed as groundless. His appeals failed."

His defense argued that he was mentally ill, and believed the courts and newspaper were conspiring to ruin his life, but prosecutors said the defense's mental-health evaluations were insufficient to prove mental illness, and argued that the shooting was a calculated act of revenge.

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