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The Publicity Victim: The Capital Gazette Massacre Case
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Photo: flickr.com/Peter Anderson

The Publicity Victim: The Capital Gazette Massacre Case

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ANNAPOLIS, MD — July 31, 2018         

The man accused of killing five Capital Gazette workers in Annapolis pleaded not guilty on Monday after his initial court appearance was canceled.

Prosecutors accuse Jarrod Ramos of walking into a local Annapolis newspaper with a gun, shooting and killing five journalists.

It happened last month, when an armed man stormed into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis with a shotgun in broad daylight, killing five journalists for reporting his online threats against Ramos's former classmate.

All victims pleaded for help on social media. One reporter described the scene as a “war zone.” A photographer said he jumped over a dead colleague and fled for his life.

"There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload," tweeted Capital Gazette reporter Phil Davis.

The victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, a former feature writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant hired in November. Two others were accidentally injured in the attack that began about 2:40 p.m. near the office.

Prior to the shooting the paper had published an article entitled "Jarrod wants to be your friend," profiling the woman who allegedly said she was the victim of Ramos' harassment.

The story mentioned that Ramos attended Arundel High School, studied computer engineering and was an employee of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the article, the woman, whose name was withheld, claimed that Ramos, a former high school classmate, tracked her down on Facebook and then harshly harassed her through email for as long as two years.

Ramos sent the woman months of emails in which he “alternately asked for help, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself.”

According to the article, the bank where she worked allegedly put her on probation because of "an email from Ramos and a follow-up phone call in which he advised them to fire her." The article went on to say that she was laid off a few months later and "believes, but can't prove, it was because of Ramos."

A woman, Ramos's classmate, later said that he was probably crazy. This was also written in the article.

The court convicted Ramos of incitement to suicide.

Ramos appealed, and in September 2015, the appeals court, instead of considering his appeal, sentenced him to 18 months.

"The appellant was charged with a criminal act," the court wrote. "The appellant perpetrated a criminal act. The appellant pleads guilty to having perpetrated a criminal act. The appellant was punished for his criminal act.... He does not appear to have learned his lesson."

In the court, Ramos said that as soon as possible, he would kill those who had issued an article against him.

Marquardt, the former publisher of the Capital Gazette, said that he wasn't surprised Ramos was identified as the suspect because he allegedly began harassing the newspaper's staff shortly after the 2011 article was published.

"I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence," Marquardt said. "I even told my wife, 'We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.'"

But, as Marquardt noted, the newspaper didn't want a formal investigation "because they were afraid it would exacerbate the situation."

John Frenaye, the founder of Eye on Annapolis, a local news site, said Ramos trolled him from 2013 to 2015, repeatedly airing his gripes against the Capital Gazette. (Eye on Annapolis and the Capital Gazette are not affiliated.)

"Any time it's that kind of troll, I just kind of ignore that," said Frenaye, who told he doesn't remember responding to Ramos or ever having written about him.

Ramos was ultimately placed on 18 months of supervised probation and was ordered to continue therapy, court documents show.

Hartley's article was published less than a week after Ramos' conviction and ran in the Sunday edition of the Capital Gazette in 2011.

And 18 months later Ramos filed a complaint against Hartley and the newspaper, alleging he was defamed by the article.

When he was released from a prison, he filed another complaint and added a charge of invasion of privacy.

A circuit court judge dismissed the complaint in 2013, saying: "There is nothing in those complaints that prove that anything that was published about you is, in fact, false. It all came from a public record. It was of the result of a criminal conviction. And it cannot give rise to a defamation suit." The case was dismissed.

Anne Arundel County acting police chief William Krampf said: “general threats” were made against the paper, and he described the shooting as “a targeted attack” on the publication. Krampf said the shooter entered the building with smoke grenades and was armed with a shotgun.

Police arrested Ramos after the shooting on June 28. Last week, he was indicted on 23 counts in connection with the shooting, including five counts of first-degree murder.

Officials said Ramos has been identified using facial recognition technology.

Documents show that in addition to pleading not guilty, Ramos and his attorney requested a speedy trial by a jury. An initial appearance in Ramos’ case was taken off the docket on Monday because his public defender, Bill Davis, filed motions for discovery and a speedy trial, negating the need for an appearance.

The article is no longer on the newspaper's website, but it was reprinted in full in the court documents.

The next court session occurs in the next 30 days. The court will discuss the trial date and dates for motion hearings.

Now, let's imagine as a one person asks for help his former classmate for a reason that is not fully established. Then she tells reporters that the man is crazy because the man writes her too often. Journalists write an article about it and the court arrests and close the person in prison.

Have you got it?

Now, if you would answer the question. How much is the human life to you? It is unclear why the journalists have the right to do that? How should they be held accountable for their actions? Does he have the right to indignation? What should a person do if society does not protect him? What should a man who was deceived humiliated and took away all security features? Do journalists' ethics or very strong "esprit de corps", preventing investigations from being carried out?

If you can answer, you'll conduct your own investigation in your mind. We can't justify Ramos, but we can't blame him for something we don't know. This situation could be any one of us. Unfortunately, we live in a society that allows itself to behave as you like. We live in a liberal and villainy society. We are not protected by anyone. Any your actions can turn against you.

Author: USA Really