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Jury finds Capital Gazette shooter sane, criminally responsible

Jury finds Capital Gazette shooter sane, criminally responsible
The jury's verdict means Jarrod Ramos will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. File Photo by Jay Fleming/EPA-EFE

July 15 (UPI) -- A Maryland jury on Thursday ruled that a man who killed five people in the Capital Gazette newsroom in 2018 is sane and therefore criminally responsible for the mass shooting.

The verdict means Jarrod Ramos, 41, will likely spend the rest of his life in prison, the newspaper reported. He faces five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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Ramos pleaded guilty in October 2019 to 23 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and weapons charges associated with the shooting. The shooting in the Annapolis building left Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters dead and injured six people.

Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess welcomed the jury's verdict.

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"This is a really bittersweet day in Annapolis," she told reporters outside the courthouse.

After pleading guilty to the charges, Ramos' attorney requested a sanity trial that could have sent him to a maximum-security psychiatric hospital with the possibility of release, The Washington Post reported. Experts called by the defense said Ramos has autism spectrum disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and delusional disorder, leading to his obsession and years-long feud with the newspaper.

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The Capital Gazette published an article in 2011 about Ramos after he pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal harassment after he stalked a woman on Facebook. Ramos then turned his anger toward the newspaper for printing the story about him.

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In 2012, Ramos sued the writer of the article, Eric Thomas Hartley, and the newspaper for defamation. He also created a Twitter account, which included harassing tweets about Hartley, the newspaper and Maryland courts, which threw out the defamation suit.

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