Psychiatrist: Newspaper gunman ‘took pleasure’ in killing

Jul 13, 2021, 3:11 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2021, 1:33 am

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The man who killed five people at a Maryland newspaper showed no remorse and expressed pride in what he’d done, a state forensic psychiatrist who evaluated him and found him legally sane testified on Tuesday.

At a trial to determine whether Jarrod Ramos is not criminally responsible due to mental illness, Dr. Sameer Patel testified how Ramos recounted to him how he thought his rampage was over after killing four people, until he found another victim hiding under a desk while Ramos searched for a computer to send a tweet. Ramos even ran back and got his shotgun, which he had thrown aside, Patel said.

“He was proud of what he’d done. He took pleasure in doing that,” Patel told jurors as Ramos sat in the courtroom.

When asked by prosecutor Anne Colt Leitess whether Ramos expressed any remorse during the interview, Patel answered “not at all.”

Patel also said Ramos was disappointed to learn two people had escaped from the newsroom whom he specifically wanted to kill. Ramos also told the doctor he had hoped candidates who had just run in a primary might be present, including Leitess, Patel said.

Patel said while he diagnosed Ramos with narcissism and schizotypal personality disorder, he did not find serious mental illness.

Dr. Gregory Saathoff, a forensic psychiatrist who also was called as a witness for prosecutors, told the jury earlier Tuesday he believed Ramos understood the criminality of his actions. Saathoff cited written statements Ramos made “relating to his intent to cripple the Capital Gazette as he felt he had been crippled” by a 2011 article the newspaper published about him.

Saathoff said Ramos had a longstanding grievance against the paper, meticulously planned for the 2018 attack and hoped to establish a personal legacy through the mass shooting.

“My opinion is that Mr. Ramos is criminally responsible for the events of June 28, 2018,” said Saathoff, a University of Virginia professor who also is a psychiatric consultant for the FBI.

Ramos pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him in 2019.

John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith died in the attack.

The defense, which went first in presenting its case, has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. That means defense attorneys are trying to show that it’s more likely than not that Ramos isn’t criminally responsible.

Defense attorneys argue that Ramos suffered from a paranoid delusion in which the Capital Gazette and the courts conspired against his efforts to sue the newspaper after the publication of a 2011 article about him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge. His 2012 lawsuit, which alleged that the paper defamed him, was dismissed as groundless. His appeals failed.

Saathoff testified about letters Ramos sent on the day of the shooting that claim credit for the attack and articulate a motive. In one of them, written to Judge Charles Moylan who had rejected his last appeal, Ramos wrote: “welcome Mr. Moylan to your unexpected legacy. YOU should have died.”

“It is written and sent on the day of the incident such that it would not arrive through regular mail for a number of days,” Saathoff said. “The significance of this to me is that it demonstrated an appreciation of the criminality of the conduct in that it was sent at a time that would not have alerted Judge Moylan or anyone else.”

Matthew Connell, one of Ramos’ lawyers, noted during cross-examination that the letter from Ramos mentions Moylan’s legacy, not his own. Saathoff, however, cited previous statements by Ramos’ sister that it was an interest of his that dated back a number of years.

Saathoff also testified about a trip Ramos made to the newsroom in February 2017, going inside for reconnaissance. Saathoff said Patel’s report says Ramos decided he should not buy a shotgun for the attack until he had done the reconnaissance, in case he ended up getting arrested for trespassing.

Saathoff said that fact illustrated Ramos’ ability to appreciate the criminality of a future event and his ability to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

Under cross-examination, Saathoff testified that unlike other psychiatrists in the case, he did not personally interview Ramos. Saathoff requested an interview, but the court did not grant it.

However, Saathoff has testified he interviewed about 30 staff members at the detention center where Ramos has been held.

While mental health professionals who support Ramos’ plea of not criminally responsible interviewed Ramos, Saathoff has emphasized that he believes they relied too much on the gunman’s testimony in reaching their conclusions about his mental health. Saathoff testified about interviews he had with people at the detention center that contradict details Ramos told mental health professionals retained by his defense.

The trial, reaching its tenth day Tuesday, has largely been a battle between mental health experts. Closing arguments could come Thursday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass during an NFL football practice at FirstE...
Associated Press

Attorneys seek Deshaun Watson NFL investigation documents

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Attorneys for multiple women suing Deshaun Watson over allegations of sexual misconduct are seeking the documents from the NFL’s investigation into the former Houston Texans quarterback. According to the motion filed Friday by the women’s attorneys, Tony Buzbee and Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey, the legal team seeks any and all reports and files […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Argentina's Economy Minister Martin Guzman walks outside of the International Monetary Fund,...
Associated Press

Argentine economy minister resigns amid peso, diesel woes

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Economy Minister Martin Guzman submitted his resignation Saturday, acting at the end of a week in which Argentina’s currency hit an all-time low against the dollar and truck drivers staged protests over shortages of diesel fuel. Guzman announced on Twitter that he had sent a multi-page resignation letter to President […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Taylor Swift appears at a premiere for her short film "All Too Well: The Short Film" in New ...
Associated Press

Man found at Taylor Swift properties faces stalking charges

NEW YORK (AP) — A 35-year-old New York man is facing trespassing and stalking charges after authorities said he entered two New York City residences linked to the famed singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Police say the suspect, who was arrested Friday, entered one of the residential buildings, located in the city’s Tribeca neighborhood, on March 26. […]
17 hours ago
FILE - A plane drops retardant on a wildfire near homes Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Laguna Beach, C...
Associated Press

US testing new fire retardant, critics push other methods

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials are testing a new wildfire retardant after two decades of buying millions of gallons annually from one supplier, but watchdogs say the expensive strategy is overly fixated on aerial attacks at the expense of hiring more fire-line digging ground crews. The Forest Service used more than 50 million gallons […]
17 hours ago
In this photo provided by Burning Spear Media, LLC, a damaged Pan-African flag flies outside the he...
Associated Press

Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A person using a flamethrower set fire Saturday to a Pan-African flag flying on a pole outside the headquarters of the Uhuru Movement, a Black international socialist group based in Florida. Security video released by the group shows the driver of a white Honda sedan pulling up outside the group’s […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

First Black woman named as Connecticut’s top public defender

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The first Black woman has been appointed as Connecticut’s chief public defender. TaShun Bowden-Lewis, who officially began her job on Friday overseeing the Division of Public Defender Services, said she hopes to provide minority clients with a greater sense of trust in the state’s criminal justice system. “I do want our […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Psychiatrist: Newspaper gunman ‘took pleasure’ in killing