Capital Gazette shooter sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

Five Gazette employees were killed in the June 2018 shooting.

September 28, 2021, 11:50 AM

Jarrod Warren Ramos, the gunman who killed five Capital Gazette employees in June 2018, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ramos, 41, pleaded guilty to 23 criminal charges in connection with the Annapolis, Maryland, newsroom shooting but used an insanity defense to claim he was not criminally responsible. A jury found him criminally responsible over the summer.

Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs handed down the sentence of five consecutive life sentences to be served without the chance for parole, bringing an end to the long, legal battle. Ramos did not make a statement in court.

He was also sentenced to an additional life in prison plus 345 years, all to run consecutively, Anne Arundel County State Attorney's office said in a statement.

Ramos opened fire on employees inside the Capital Gazette's office building, killing Wendi Winters, John McNamera, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith.

Jarrod Ramos, who killed five people at a Maryland newspaper in 2018, is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 28, 2021, for one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history.
Anne Arundel Police via AP, File

Family members of victims and survivors of the shooting spoke during the emotional hearing.

“There were days I wondered why I lived, but I lived to tell the truth. No shooter could kill this paper. You can’t kill the truth,” Selene San Felice, a reporter who survived the shooting, said to Ramos at the hearing, Maryland news radio station WBAL reported.

Judge Wachs said that Ramos showed no remorse for his crimes and told a state psychiatrist he’d kill more if he were ever released.

“The impact of this case is just simply immense,” Wachs said, Associated Press reported. “To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement.”

A makeshift memorial is seen at the scene outside the office building housing The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., July 1, 2018.
Jose Luis Magana/AP, FILE

Prosecutors said revenge was Ramos' motivation for the shooting.

Ramos had accused the Capital Gazette of destroying his reputation when it covered his misdemeanor harassment conviction in 2011. He was accused of harassing a former female high school student and filed several lawsuits against the newspaper, which were dismissed by the courts.

In a press conference following the sentencing, State Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said, “Justice was served.”

“He exploited his lawsuit and his losing of the lawsuit and killed innocent people just to feel better about himself,” she said. “The jury saw through that and the judge saw through that today, sentencing him to the maximum sentence under law.”