Jul 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capital Gazette gunman found criminally responsible for killing 5 people

A women holds a newspaper and candle.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The gunman who opened fire and killed five people in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 2018 was found criminally responsible on Thursday, with a jury rejecting defense attorneys’ mental illness arguments.

Why it matters: Jarrod Ramos could be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury determined in less than 90 minutes that he was sane at the time of the shooting. It's deemed "one of the deadliest attacks on American journalists in the country’s history," the New York Times writes.

Details: 41-year-old Ramos pleaded guilty to 23 charges in 2019.

  • The trial began June 29 when the defense asserted that Ramos was not criminally responsible. Prosecutors argued that because he plotted the shooting, he was mentally competent and able to conform his actions to meet legal standards.
  • Of note: The jury's decision means Ramos will be sentenced to prison, rather than a maximum-security mental health facility.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Selene San Felice — a survivor of the shooting who testified at the trial last week: The verdict and its swift delivery is a huge relief, but the survivors and family of those who died are all still in so much pain.

  • To say this trial reopened a wound is a massive understatement. Don’t just read this news and move on. Do something to prevent the next mass shooting. Show compassion for the people affected by gun violence. Stop letting people like my friends die. And don’t let people like me feel forgotten.

Catch up quick: Ramos shot five people roughly three years ago.

  • In July 2011, a Capital Gazette columnist covered a criminal harassment case filed against Ramos. He then filed a defamation lawsuit in 2012 against Capital Gazette Communications and multiple employees. It was dismissed as groundless.

Editor's note: The story has been updated to reflect that Ramos has not yet been sentenced.

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