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Capital Gazette Trial Day 5: Court filing reveals gunman's obsession with getting justice before shooting

Posted at 4:06 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 19:07:22-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — “There is no life outside of this,” 41-year-old Jarrod Ramos wrote in a legal document that’s what he told his psychotherapist about his fight for punitive justice.

The Capital Gazette mass murderer was involved in a years long court battle over perceived defamation published in the newspaper after his harassment guilty plea in 2011.

This is what ultimately lead to his retaliation against innocent paper staffers, murdering five of them in their office three years ago.

Day five of his trial to determine criminal responsibility started with defense witness Thomas Lancaster, a private investigator for the Office of the Public Defender, going over all the legal documents associated with the defendants criminal harassment case in 2011 and fallout.

It consisted of hundreds of pages, several cases, the majority of it authored by the convicted mass shooter.

The passages read aloud for the jury today are actual case filings where Ramos explains his side and contain biblical language like ‘thou salt not lie’ and one passage read “man has a right to his good name. Rob him of this and you rob him of all.”

In legal documents regarding the defendants lawsuit against the Capital Gazette for perceived defamation in an article about his harassment guilty plea, Ramos called it "malicious defamation" & "libel at will." He wrote he was a "capable person" who devoted a year to prosecuting his case.

"Plaintiff is not an attorney, but a capable person who has for over a year devoted himself in preparation of this action and to prosecuting it as a competent pro se litigant," reads the documents.

He then went through the application for statement of charges Ramos filed against the victim for perjury in 2012.

“I care a great deal about truth…her statements must not defile our courts any longer.”

He wrote he has suffered and continues to incur harm and is in search of truth and justice.

All of his motions were denied. He then appealed the rulings, exhausting all avenues because he was unsuccessful.

Then it was the State’s Attorney’s turn to cross examine the defendant, making the case that he was intelligent in these filings.

“I wouldn’t agree that they made sense,” said Lancaster.

Then, defense called to the stand former Annapolis City police officer David Dixon, who met with a Capital Gazette reporter in 2012, six years before he rampage, who wanted to file harassment charges against the defendant for his disturbing comments made to her on Twitter.

Ramos was not charged.

Court picked back up in the afternoon with Dr. Catherine Yeager, a clinical psychologist primarily for child and adolescences. She consults for people who have been accused of violent behaviors. She has been accepted as an expert in this case, and helped with the psychological assessment of the defendant.

She got a diagnostic impression that he has autism spectrum disorder, “that is foundational to how his brain works” she said, OCD and delusional disorder. She called it a diagnostic impression because she is confident that it’s correct but she doesn’t have the full amount of data she would want, including parental reports.

She spent a total of 15 hours over three days with the defendant.

In addition to interviewing the defendant, she spoke to his sister for three hours, but she did not have access to interview his parents or other family members.

She also interviewed one of the defendants friends for about an hour, read the Capital Gazette article and his court filings and saw footage from the shooting.

“He is someone with at least average intelligence and no evidence of head injuries,” said Dr. Yeager.

She recalled the friend said Ramos changed a lot from elementary school to high school. In between that time, he moved to England. He described him as isolative, ‘black and white,’ always dressing the same and obsessed with wrestling.

When examining him for obsessive compulsive disorder, he told her his obsessions, including in high school when he felt he was somehow infringing on other people in face to face encounters, and when he was alone he felt relieved.

As an adult, he would take night shifts so he wouldn’t have to interact with people and say the wrong thing. He also has excessive concern for dirt and germs, describing a ritual of cleaning the bathroom ceiling to floor. He said in jail, the fear of germs is worse and he has a ritual of cleaning his cell as much as he can. He has a shower ritual and procedure for every part of his body.

He was also obsessed with the idea of right and wrong and fair play and Yeager said it appears to have run his life. One of the more bizarre examples she said was when he told her that when he’s with people, noses have to line up like an equilateral triangle and so he will move to adjust to satisfy that. In jail, all his soaps and cookies are arranged in stacks of six.

Dr. Yeager will be back on the stand Wednesday morning.