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Capital Gazette Shooter Trial Coming To A Close

A photo of the jury sitting area in a courtroom in Annapolis, Md., April 22, 2021.
Brian Witte
A photo of the jury sitting area in a courtroom in Annapolis, Md., April 22, 2021.

Lawyers are expected to deliver closing arguments Thursday in the Capital Gazette shooter’s sanity trial. The prosecution rested its case Wednesday after defense lawyers spent hours cross examining a state psychiatrist.

The lawyers questioned Dr. Sameer Patel’s interview methods and where Patel, a forensic psychiatrist at Clifton T. Perkins hospital, got the background information he used to evaluate the gunman who killed five people in The Capital Gazette newsroom in June 2018.

Patel, who spent 20 hours interviewing Jarrod Ramos to determine his psychological state, testified Tuesday that the shooter was proud of what he had done and that he took pleasure in relating his story.

Ramos has pleaded guilty, but not criminally responsible, Maryland’s version of the insanity plea, in the deaths of Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rebecca Smith and Rob Hiaasen.

Mental health professionals for the defense diagnosed Ramos with several personality disorders that made him unable to appreciate the gravity of his actions.

But the psychiatrists for the prosecution said Ramos, who had a grudge against the newspaper over an article on his conviction in a harassment case, carefully planned the shootings over several years and that his personality disorders did not prevent him from understanding his actions were illegal.

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.