Man Charged in Capital Gazette Shooting Pleads Guilty to All Charges

Ramos tells judge he is guilty of killing five Gazette employees in a 2018 mass shooting

Last Updated: October 28, 2019 @ 5:04 PM

The man charged with killing five Capital Gazette employees in a June 2018 mass shooting has pleaded guilty on all 23 counts.

Jarrod Ramos initially pleaded not guilty in April of this year, according to the Capital Gazette, and the trial was split into two phases: one to determine if Ramos, who is charged with murder, attempted murder, assault and weapons offenses, committed those crimes; and a second to determine if he is criminally responsible — which the Gazette said is Maryland’s equivalent of determining if someone is not guilty by reason of insanity.

On Monday, just days before the first phase was scheduled to start, Ramos changed his plea to guilty. And when asked by the presiding judge if he is guilty of the killings, Ramos said “Yes, I am.” The presiding judge accepted his guilty plea shortly after. Jury selection for the second phase will now proceed Wednesday, with the trial set to begin Nov. 4.

On June 28, 2018, Ramos stormed the paper’s Annapolis office and killed editorial editor Gerald Fischman, assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, sportswriter and editor John McNamara, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, and reporter Wendi Winters. Two other employees were injured.

Ramos was arrested after he was found hiding under a newsroom desk; he had previously lost a defamation case against the paper over its factual 2011 report that he was convicted of harassing a former high school classmate over social media,

The shooting was the deadliest attack against a media company since Islamic extremists killed 12 at the offices of the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper in France in January 2015. The paper later won a special Pulitzer prize “for their courageous response to the largest killing of journalists in U.S. history in their newsroom on June 28, 2018, and for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief.”

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