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Capital Gazette shooter to claim insanity after pleading guilty to killing 5 journalists

More than a year after Maryland man Jarrod Ramos shot and killed five journalists at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, a judge has accepted his guilty plea. The next step in his case is determining whether he can defend his actions on the grounds of insanity.

The court is set to select a jury for the defense proceedings Wednesday, a week after a psychiatrist ruled Ramos as legally sane, according to CBS Baltimore. He is also being charged for using a firearm, assault in the first degree. The trial is set to begin November 4.

Judge Laura Ripken said Ramos "freely, knowingly and voluntarily" gave up his right to a jury trial to determine whether he is guilty, according to The Associated Press.

During Monday's hearing, which numerous employees of the Capital Gazette attended, the details of the June 28, 2018, mass shooting were rehashed.

CBS Baltimore reports that Ramos blocked the rear door of the Capital Gazette building and tied the side door with nylon. Wearing shooting glasses and ear plugs and with two laser sites on his shotgun, he entered the front door of the building. The targeted attack resulted in the deaths of John McNamara, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman and Rob Hiaasen.

Shootings Newspaper
An American flag is placed next to markers representing the people killed in a newsroom shooting, at a makeshift memorial at the scene outside the office building housing The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, July 1, 2018. AP

Crime reporter Phil Davis had tweeted out the incident as it took place, saying, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

Police arrested Ramos, 39, after finding him hiding under a desk in the newsroom, at which time Ramos said, "I surrender. I'm your shooter," according to AP.

Ramos had several years of history with the Capital Gazette.

After being charged with a misdemeanor for harassment in 2011 when he repeatedly made contact with a former high school classmate, he sued the Capital Gazette for defamation in its coverage of the case in their publication, The Capital. The coverage included the classmate's accusations, which include Ramos harassed her for months and called her employer in an attempt to get her fired.

Ramos' case against the Gazette was ultimately dismissed, as the assigned judge said, "There is absolutely not one piece of evidence, or an assertion by you that the statement [in the article] was false," according to the unreported opinion.

Ramos then regularly tweeted messages against the Capital Gazette, using an account that has now been deleted.

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