ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A judge has sentenced a man who killed five people at a Maryland newspaper to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole. Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs ordered the sentence for Jarrod Ramos on Tuesday.
In July, a jury found Ramos criminally responsible for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamara, 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 Maryland’s version of an insanity defense. The case was delayed several times before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
Survivors of the Capital Gazette newspaper shooting and relatives of the five victims who died in the attack on Tuesday described the pain and loss they have experienced before a Maryland judge.
Montana Winters Geimer, daughter of shooting victim 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," Geimer told Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Michael Wachs. "The hours spent not knowing if she was alive or dead have lived in my nightmares ever since.”
Prosecutors were seeking five life terms in prison without the possibility of parole for Jarrod Ramos, who committed the homicides with a shotgun at the newspaper in June 2018 in one of the worst attacks on journalists in U.S. history.
In 2019, Ramos used Maryland’s version of an insanity defense to plead guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him.
After a 12-day trial in July, a jury took less than two hours to reject arguments from Ramos' attorneys that he could not understand the criminality of his actions. The jury found him criminally responsible for killing Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith.
Prosecutors contend Ramos, 41, acted out of revenge against the newspaper after it published a story about his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of harassing a former high school classmate in 2011. Prosecutors said his long, meticulous planning for the attack — which included preparations for his arrest and long incarceration — proved he understood the criminality of his actions.
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