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They decided quickly the Capital Gazette gunman was criminally responsible. But the trial itself is taking a toll on some jurors

Alex Mann, Capital Gazette on

Published in News & Features

By the time Patel testified, jurors had heard two weeks of details about Ramos’ thinking.

“It’s disturbing,” said another juror who wished to remain anonymous. “You’re living inside the mind of a killer and it’s not a pleasant thing.”

During closing arguments, defense attorneys tried to impugn Patel, saying he acted more like a stenographer during his approximately 20 hours with Ramos than a forensic psychiatrist. They argued he became emotional on the stand as he described some of the most haunting details from the conversations, and claimed that made him unprofessional.

But the group of jurors and alternates said they found Ramos’ remarks to Patel to be among the most telling pieces of evidence. If they hadn’t decided already, Patel’s testimony sealed it.

Early during the trial, Ramos’ attorneys showed video of the shooting and his eight-hour police interrogation.

“The key evidence came directly from Jarrod Ramos: The things he wrote leading up to it, the planning, watching his behavior that day,” Swope said. “It was almost impossible to go from any of those other things to ‘not criminally responsible.’”

 

Doctors testifying on Ramos’ behalf talked about Ramos’ childhood, isolated life and grudge against the paper, which they described as evidence of his obsessions, delusions and insanity. They hardly discussed the crime itself, though Ramos went over it in detail and bragged about his actions with Patel.

Jurors were tasked with deciding the case based on Ramos’ mental state at the time of the crime. Considering the footage, photos and his statements to Patel, it wasn’t a hard decision.

“If there was a degree of criminal responsibility, what we saw was 100%,” Swope said. “I don’t know that you could be more criminally responsible.”

Multiple jurors said the case could have ended when the defense rested its case. But it didn’t. And the prosecution’s case included some things some of the jurors described as difficult to forget.

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