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Capital Gazette gunman’s sentencing date set in September

The gunman ruled criminally responsible for the Capital Gazette murders is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 28.

Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Michael Wachs will send the man who killed Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters to prison for life at the September sentencing hearing, according to experts. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

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Barring any appeals, it will be the last court date for Jarrod Ramos, 41.

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His attorneys maintained he was insane during the June 28, 2018, mass shooting and proceeded on those grounds at his sanity trial three years later.

After 12 days of trial, a jury deliberated for less than two hours Thursday before rendering its verdict that Ramos was legally sane and therefore criminally responsible for his crimes.

Throughout the trial, Ramos’ attorneys and experts testifying in his defense said he was seriously mentally ill. They said he became obsessed with the newspaper following its coverage of his harassment conviction and developed delusions that it was conspiring with the courts to ruin his reputation. In his mind, they said, he had to carry out the attack to attain justice.

Prosecutors countered that Ramos killed for revenge over slights to his oversized ego, not because of mild psychiatric conditions. They described him as a callous and calculated killer.

Maryland law requires that Wachs sentence Ramos to some type of life sentence for first-degree murder, though he has discretion about offering the possibility of parole and, if so, whether to suspend some of the prison term.

Prosecutors, however, long ago filed notice they were seeking at least five life sentences without the possibility of parole, and experts predicted Wachs would run the life sentences consecutively.

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