ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The State’s Attorney called it a revenge killing. Thursday, the defense rested its case in the Capital Gazette mass shooter trial, and the jury heard from the state.
During her opening statement, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said the shooting was all about getting back at the Capital Gazette because the defendant didn’t get satisfaction for his defamation claims.
In 2011, a Capital Gazette reporter wrote a story about the gunman Jarrod Ramos’ harassment guilty plea. Ramos perceived parts of the article as defamation. He went on a years long quest to get justice.
He demanded retractions, asking them to publish his side of the story. He ultimately lost all lawsuits and appeals, cut off his sister, started giving things away and running up his credit card debt to $90,000.
Leitess said this made him embarrassed and he wanted to punish the newspaper and the judge.
At first, he wanted to attack the Court of Appeals but changed his mind when he realized there are guards there so he picked a soft target, the Capital Gazette.
In 2017, Leitess said he bought the gun and scouted out the attack site.
She said he meticulously planned for years and contingencies in place unless one didn’t work.
He picked the specific date and time for “maximum damage” because he thought there would be community members there, and the victims’ families would sue and the Capital would be held liable for his actions.
He had a stop watch and studied mass shootings so he knew how long he had to operate.
Leitess said the state agree that the defendant suffers from mental health disorders but that alone does not mean he lacks criminal responsibility; that the premeditation and motive prove he is criminally responsible.
Friday, the jury will start to hear from the state’s witnesses, including six survivors who had to hide or run for their lives.