Distressing images of the 2018 slaughter of five staff at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper were shown in court this week — as the killer tries to argue that he is too insane to be held responsible.
Jurors were shown video footage of Jarrod Ramos, 41, blasting out a glass door to start his mass shooting — then emerging from under a desk in the newsroom once police found him hiding.
The court was also shown footage of Ramos roaming around and photographs of the dead Gazette staffers he killed exactly three years and a day before Monday’s hearing in Anne Arundel County court.
Wendi Winters, 65, was seen collapsed in a hallway after she had just charged at Ramos with a trash can, while Gerald Fischman, 61, was shown crumpled under his desk. Rob Hiaasen, the 59-year-old brother of best-selling crime writer Carl Hiaasen, was shown dead in his cubicle, while John McNamara, 56, was at the back of the newsroom.
Sales associate Rebecca Smith, 34 — who was at the front desk and was first to get shot — died later at a hospital.
Jurors were also shown the tactical shotgun Ramos used, as well as a barracuda, a device he used to barricade a back door so that the victims could not escape.
Those in court — including relatives of the dead — gasped after each photo was shown, the Gazette said, with at least one relative having to leave.
Ramos has pleaded guilty to the June 28, 2018, slayings, and his attorney, Katy O’Donnell, admitted to the court that “his act was willful, deliberate and premeditated.”
However, the hearing is into Ramos’ claims that he should not be held criminally responsible because of his mental illness at the time.
The court was told there was “an eight-year backstory” to the attack, with Ramos believing he was being intentionally persecuted after the paper wrote about him formally admitting harassing someone.
The grievance consumed his life — and he had actually hoped to kill more people that day, according to the Gazette. He thought there was a community meeting in the building that day and planned to make “orphans” of a woman’s children, the court was told.
Still, “Mr. Ramos does not believe what he did was wrong,” said O’Donnell.
However, Ramos was determined to be legally sane by Dr. Sameer Patel, a psychiatrist with the state Health Department who evaluated him.
The court was also told the killer had bought a lifetime membership to the US Chess Federation four days before the shooting, in preparation for a long stretch in prison.
If Ramos is found not criminally responsible, he will be committed to a maximum-security psychiatric hospital instead of prison. Prosecutors are seeking life in prison without possibility of parole.
With Post wires