Life plus 345 years for the Capital Gazette newsroom killer

Good, but not good enough:

The man who stormed into the newsroom of a community newspaper chain in Maryland’s capital in 2018, killing five staff members, was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life terms without the possibility of parole, according to prosecutors.

The man, Jarrod W. Ramos, 41, had pleaded guilty in October 2019 to 23 charges, including five counts of first-degree murder, for the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Annapolis on June 28, 2018, one of the deadliest attacks on American journalists.

The Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office announced the sentence after a two-hour hearing. The state’s attorney, Anne Colt Leitess, had asked for at least five life sentences without the possibility of parole.

The state’s attorney’s office said in a statement that the sentence included “one life sentence plus 345 years.” The sentences would run consecutively, it said.

Even though he’s moved on by now, I still think of Chase Cook every time I read about this. When we talked about Cook’s experiences as a staffer at the Capital Gazette during this horrific event, I realized that no matter what happened to Ramos, it wasn’t going to change what he had done, not just to those who died, but to those who lived:

In the days and weeks that followed, Cook said that he and other staff members have continued to work through their grief and their emotions in their own ways. Collectively, the paper continues to receive praise for the efforts they made that day, which Cook said has a bittersweet feeling to it.

“Most of us, and I don’t want to speak for everyone, but we’ve used this platform to talk about the importance of local journalism and the importance of safety in the newsroom…” he said. “That’s really the best we can do. And at the same time we internally reconcile with, ‘This is awesome we should be happy but why can’t Wendi, Rob, John, Rebecca and Gerald be here to enjoy it with us?’ And they can’t be.”

“I struggle with feeling good or proud about what I did on the 28th and every day since then,” he added. “There’s no room in me to feel proud about that, it’s really just grief.”

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