A jury in Maryland on Thursday found that the man who killed five employees of the Capital Gazette newspaper is criminally responsible for the attack, rejecting his plea of insanity. Jarrod Ramos walked into the Capital Gazette offices in June 2018 and opened fire, killing five staffers. Two others were injured. He had already pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible in October 2019 to 23 counts, including murder, setting up the trial where a jury would be asked to determine his mental state at the time of the shooting. In Maryland, the law allows for separate proceedings within a trial to determine guilt and mental competency if a defendant is using an insanity defense. The mental competency phase is where criminal responsibility is argued. The trial began in late June following delays for a variety of reasons, including Covid-19, the Capital Gazette reported. The jury needed less than two hours to reach its verdict.
The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation is committed to honoring the legacy of those who have lost their lives in pursuit of a free press. The guilty verdict in the trial of the shooter in the Capital Gazette case serves as reminder that our nation cannot stand for assaults on a free press. The tragic events in the Capital Gazette newsroom first inspired our effort to create the Fallen Journalists Memorial in our Washington, D.C. Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Wendi Winters and Rebecca Smith, who lost their lives in the deadliest attack on journalism in U.S. history.