Lawyers for Capital Gazette shooting suspect could consider insanity plea

Lawyers for Capital Gazette shooting suspect could consider insanity plea

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) - The man charged with a shooting spree that left five members of the Capital Gazette newspaper dead will stand trial Jan. 15.

Jarrod Ramos of Laurel made his first appearance in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Monday during a brief hearing.

County State's Attorney Wes Adams says he intends to seek a sentence of life without parole.

Ramos has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including five counts of first degree murder.

But his attorneys have until Oct. 24 to consider whether to enter a revised plea of not criminally responsible.

Colin Starger, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, is not connected to the case.

But he says any decision on whether a defendant pleads not criminally responsible is based on a simple premise.

"Do you understand what's happening to you? Do you understand the nature of the charges against you, and can you help your lawyers? If you can't do that, you're incompetent to stand trial. The way to prove that is to show that you suffer from a serious mental disorder, that you are insane or schizophrenic," explained Starger.

Legal experts say that would usually require testimony confirming such a diagnosis from a team of psychiatrists.

But Starger says if such a plea is entered, "It tends to indicate an admission of that your client did what he is alleged to have done."

A motions hearing in the Ramos case is scheduled for mid-December.

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