ANNAPOLIS, Md (WMAR) — After deliberating for an hour, a jury found the Capital Gazette mass shooter criminally responsible.
"Three hard years we’ve suffered and they put an end to our suffering," said John San Felice, the father of a survivor.
"I can finally start to let my sister rest in peace," said Cindi Rittenour, victim Rebecca Smith's sister.
With their decision, the jury of eight men and four women chose to send the gunman to prison instead of a maximum security hospital and delivered a sense of relief and closure to those most impacted by the shooting.
"He deserves to go to jail. He ruined a lot of lives and continued to ruin them and now hopefully he won’t be able to ruin them anymore," said Paul Gillespie, who narrowly escaped a gunshot.
John McNamara’s widow Andrea said even with the verdict, her fight for stricter gun laws continues.
"Dangerous men with easy access to fire arms should not be able to murder us in our newsrooms, in our offices, in our yoga studios, in our movie theaters, in our high schools," said Andrea Chamblee.
As for the gunman, he has 10 days to file an appeal. State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess expects the defense to try something but she’s confident it won’t work.
"The bulk of the work has been done now and i think that we tried a very clean trial, the judge was very careful and cautious," said Leitess. "He’s gonna have to show that there was some grave error, procedural or legal error, that happened during the trial and they have not raised such an error so we’ve very confident that won’t happen."
She expects he will get five life sentences without the possibility of parole.
"This is the most egregious case that our county has ever seen and probably one of the worst in the state of Maryland," said Leitess.
His sentencing hearing date has not been set yet but it will be in about eight weeks.