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Capital Gazette shooter sentenced to five life sentences

Posted at 7:09 AM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 17:08:19-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The convicted gunman responsible for a 2018 deadly mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences on Tuesday, without the chance of parole. A life sentence for each life taken: John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith.

"Justice was served today," said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess.

Before the judge passed down his sentence, 12 survivors and family members of the victims addressed the court courageously, trying to describe the horrific impact of his actions.

Through tears, Gerald Fischman's widow read a poem he wrote, titled "Valentine’s Day Poem 2017," which ends with “I love you each day honey from the moment that I wake and I’m going to keep loving you until the last breath I take.”

"On the day she passed, I felt my entire world shatter into pieces. That everything I worked for in my life suddenly had no meaning anymore." said Rebecca Smith's sister Cindi Rittenour.

Then Leitess asked for the maximum sentences for all 23 charges, saying he is not sorry or remorseful. He believes it was just and fair. He said if he would be let out, he would probably kill more people to go back to prison because he wants to be removed from society.

"Throughout this trial, it was clear that he enjoyed killing the victims and he regretted not being able to kill more of the victims," said Leitess.

The gunmna, Jarrod Ramos, told his attorney he did not wish to argue for leniency in sentencing.

Then the judge gave the sentence he said he deserves, the maximum: five life sentences without the possibility of parole, a life sentence for attempted murder, and 345 years for other charges related to the victims and survivors.

"The judge was crystal clear that Jarrod Ramos should never be able to walk out of prison ever," said Leitess.

He plead guilty to all the charges against him in 2019 by reason of insanity. Over the summer, a jury found him criminally responsible for the murders.

MORE: Capital Gazette shooter found criminally responsible by jury

The sentence brings to a close a tragic case that was fought in court for more than three years.

"Today is a day that should feel like a monumental end of something but I'm still not sure that something will ever end. This is a lifelong pain we are all carrying," said Andrea Chamblee, John's widow.

"I'm happy and I'm relieved to say that it’s finally time that I can begin the process of trying to heal from everything that’s been going on," said Rittenour.

"It brings us solace that the person that took her from us will never breath freedom again," said Montana Winters Geimer, Wendi's daughter.

"This isn’t just one wound that we have to heal form and this one wound isn’t healed. It’s many many wounds," said Selene San Felice, a survivor.

"I don’t think there’s ever going to be any closure. I lost five of my family members. I was almost killed myself. It’s something that haunts me every day," said Paul Gillespie, a survivor.

The gunman has 30 days to appeal, but Leitess does not expect him to do so.