A key knowledgeable for prosecutors within the Capital Gazette taking pictures testified Friday that the gunman’s methodical planning each for the assault and for after it point out he’s legally sane and criminally liable for killing 5 folks on the newsroom in Maryland three years in the past.
Dr. Gregory Saathoff, a forensic psychiatrist and a chief guide for the FBI testified at a pretrial listening to earlier than the second section of Ramos’ trial, now set for late June earlier than a jury to find out whether or not he’s criminally accountable. Ramos already has pleaded responsible however not criminally accountable as a consequence of madness.
Saathoff described his evaluation of Ramos’ capacity to arrange and conceal plans for the assault on the newspaper workplace in Annapolis in addition to his flexibility to regulate as he carried it out, as major indicators he was not insane.
“The calculated, methodical efforts that have been actualized within the occasion communicate to prison accountability,” Saathoff mentioned.
Saathoff additionally underscored what occurred after the rampage contained in the newsroom, when Ramos known as 911 and positioned himself in a nonthreatening place to be arrested beneath a desk, as proof he understood the results of what he was doing.
“It signifies consciousness of authority and the illegality of the deliberate crime,” Saathoff mentioned.
Ramos even had ready for lengthy incarceration: He purchased a lifetime membership to the U.S. Chess Federation, 4 days earlier than the taking pictures.
Saathoff identified that Ramos went as far as to think about what can be of curiosity to investigators after the crime. For instance, he destroyed a journal he saved of his expertise mountaineering the Appalachian Path.
“It demonstrates an curiosity in controlling info,” Saathoff mentioned.
Saathoff additionally cited Ramos mountaineering the path in 2002 and 2003 as proof he doesn’t undergo from autism, as his legal professionals contend, as a result of it concerned appreciable social interplay to satisfy different folks alongside the way in which and generally keep of their houses.
Employees on the detention heart the place Ramos has been held instructed Saathoff that he has been a mannequin inmate. He has been described as well mannered, not delicate to being touched when handcuffed and sitting in the midst of different inmates throughout transport in a van — unlikely qualities of somebody affected by extreme autism.
Protection attorneys have sought to restrict Saathoff’s testimony as a lot as attainable, criticizing it for missing an interview with Ramos. Underneath cross examination by legal professional Matthew Connell, Saathoff mentioned out of about 20 forensic evaluations he has completed, just one different lacked a direct interview.
Saathoff requested an interview with Ramos, however the court docket didn’t grant it.
Nonetheless, Saathoff interviewed dozens of individuals with direct information and expertise with Ramos, together with workers on the detention heart the place he has been held, and Ramos’ sister. By casting a large web, he mentioned he can get a fuller image past what an interview would reveal.
“I discover that generally there are statements that a person makes which are deceptive,” he mentioned.
Whereas Saathoff will be capable to testify, he will be unable to straight evaluate Ramos to different mass shooters in an FBI report. Prosecutors say the report supplies a basis for the state’s idea that Ramos was not mentally unwell and acted in conformity with behaviors similar to having a grievance.
Ramos, 41, had a well-documented historical past of harassing the newspaper’s journalists. He filed a lawsuit in opposition to the paper in 2012, alleging he was defamed in an article about his conviction in a prison harassment case in 2011. The defamation swimsuit was dismissed as groundless, and Ramos railed in opposition to workers on the newspaper in profanity-laced tweets.
Dr. Sameer Patel, a psychiatrist with the state Well being Division, was in court docket Thursday. He testified that he interviewed Ramos six occasions for about 20 hours for his psychological well being analysis of Ramos. His report decided Ramos was legally sane.
Protection attorneys have retained their very own psychological well being knowledgeable.
Ramos pleaded responsible in October 2019 to all 23 counts in opposition to him for killing John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith.
If Ramos have been discovered not criminally accountable, he can be dedicated to a maximum-security psychiatric hospital as an alternative of jail.