An Anne Arundel County judge ruled Monday that prosecutors provided enough evidence to justify charges in the Capital Gazette shooting case, denying a request for more information from the defense as it considers entering an insanity plea by Friday.
Circuit Court Judge Laura Ripken, in her opinion, found prosecutors gave the defense “significantly more” than is legally required in a bill of particulars, a document outlining the facts supporting an indictment.
Ripken is presiding over the Capital Gazette shooting case, in which a Laurel man faces 23 counts for murdering five people at the news organization office in Annapolis on June 28.
Police say the gunman killed Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters and John McNamara. Six other staff members in the newsroom that afternoon survived the attack.
Jarrod Ramos, 39, was indicted on 23 charges in the attack, including murder, attempted murder and assault of other employees in the newsroom at the time. The trial is scheduled for June 3 to 14.
Ramos was present in Circuit Court for Ripken’s decision, alongside public defenders William Davis, Elizabeth Palan and Katy O’Donnell. He has pleaded not guilty, but requested time to consider a not criminally responsible by reason of insanity plea.
The deadline to file that plea is Friday. O’Donnell objected for the record, saying the defense did not have enough details to sufficiently support the state’s understanding of the shooting.
The defense attorneys argued at a February hearing more information is necessary to contemplate an insanity plea. The defense argued they need more to figure out whether their client demonstrated premeditation and intent while carrying out the attack.
Anne Arundel County’s State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess appeared for the prosecution alongside Assistant State’s Attorney James Tuomey.
The case will now proceed to trial, Colt Leitess said, though she declined to say whether the trial would actually get underway in June.
Davis declined to comment.
Ripken in January extended Ramos’ plea deadline until mid-March. Judges are likely to give latitude for criminally not responsible pleas, especially in complicated cases. If found not criminally responsible, the Maryland Department of Health would take custody of Ramos.
The department would interview Ramos and review his records before filing an opinion with Ripken on whether he could stand trial and if he is a danger to himself or others.
After that report — and the defendant is free to produce his own experts — the judge or jury would decide if he is not criminally responsible based on evidence given.