Maryland newspaper gunman gets more than 5 life prison terms

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NewsNation Now) — A judge has sentenced Jarrod Ramos, the man who killed five people at a Maryland newspaper, to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole on Tuesday.

In July, a jury found Ramos, 41, 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.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome today. I just wish none of this ever happened,” said Capital Gazette journalist Paul Gillespie, who made it out of the newsroom alive the day Ramos stormed their office. “I don’t think there’s ever gonna be any closure, I lost five of my Capital Gazette family members that day. I was almost killed myself. I think about this every day. Every day I think about what happened to me and my Capital Gazette family.”

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.

Before announcing the sentence, Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs noted that Ramos showed no remorse for the 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,” 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 wore a black mask in court, declined to make a statement when asked by his attorney, Katy O’Donnell.

The assault was one of the worst attacks on journalists in U.S. history.

“My mom is missing out on every big event in my life, but I’m here for this big event in her afterlife. And Wendi was here with us,” said Summerleigh Winters Geimer of her late mother Wendi Winters, who charged at Ramos when he entered the Capital Gazette office.

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.

Prosecutors contend Ramos 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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