October 28, 2019 / 8:00 PM / 22 days ago

Man charged in Maryland newspaper shooting pleads not criminally responsible

(Reuters) - The man accused of fatally shooting five people at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, last year pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible on all 23 felony charges against him, officials from the court and prosecutor’s office said.

The plea sets the stage for further proceedings to determine whether the defendant, Jarrod Ramos, 39, was suffering from a mental disorder that rendered him incapable of understanding the nature or consequences of his actions.

The plea was entered during a two-hour hearing in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court and accepted by the presiding judge two days before jury selection in Ramos’ trial was set to begin, said Terri Charles, a court spokeswoman.

In July 2018, Ramos, who remains jailed without bond, pleaded not guilty to all 23 charges in the case, including five counts of first-degree murder.

He is accused of opening fire with a shotgun in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis on June 28, 2018, killing four journalists and a sales assistant in an attack that police said was motivated by a grudge he held against the newspaper in Maryland’s state capital.

The community newspaper is owned by the Baltimore Sun. The shooting spree ranks as one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Culver City, Calif., and Peter Szekely and Gabriella Borter in New York; editing by Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler

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