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Defense Expert Testifies Capital Gazette Shooter Jarrod Ramos Is On The Autism Spectrum

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- The trial against the man who pleaded guilty to nearly two dozen charges related to the Capital Gazette shooting was back in court on Tuesday.

Week two of the second phase of the trial has begun and defense attorneys brought up numerous cases where the defendant unsuccessfully tried to sue some individuals and the Capital Gazette.

It was revealed in court that for several years before the deadly mass shooting at the Capital Gazette, Jarrod Ramos repeatedly filed unsuccessful lawsuits and appeals against the paper and some of its workers.

In one court filing, Ramos wrote, "You've crippled my life for a year and now I am going to cripple your company forever."

The defendant had a grievance with the paper after they wrote about a harassment case he was involved in. The unsuccessful lawsuits went on for at least six years before the shooting that killed Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.

Steven Grossman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Baltimore School of Law has been following the case. Professor Grossman believes the defense has a reason for highlighting their client's failed lawsuits.

"I think what the defense is trying to show is that by filing all of these lawsuits, all of which proved to be unsuccessful, you really have to be missing something in your head to file all these lawsuits, to spend all the time, all the efforts and the money it takes to file all the lawsuits that prove to be unsuccessful," said Professor Grossman. "You must be obsessed in order to do all this."

A clinical psychologist who testified in court Tuesday said after interviewing the defendant for over 15 hours, she concluded that he has autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and delusional disorder.

The prosecution will bring in experts to counter the argument that the defendant committed the shooting because of a mental illness. Professor Grossman said this trial will boil down to a battle of the experts.

"At the end of the day, you have a jury of 12 laypeople trying to put this all together and make a determination in their mind whether this guy was crazy at the time he committed the crime," said Professor Grossman. "It's a tough defense to make out, especially because the defense has
the burden of proof which is very rare in criminal matters but also, you have to consider it from the jurors' perspective because they are going to be deciding the case."

This case is supposed to last for two to three weeks. The defense is still making its case so it is possible for the trial to run into a third week.

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