ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Potential jurors came to the circuit courthouse in Annapolis ready to serve in one of the highest-profile cases in years: Deciding whether Jarrod Ramos was sane at the time he opened fire in the Capital Gazette newsroom last year and murdered five people.

But Ramos’ defense team argued they had not received all of the reports from the state’s mental health experts and it would be “unfair” to move forward.

The defense lawyers said they obtained some of the experts’ findings from the state, which they are entitled to in discovery, less than 24 hours before jury selection was set to begin.

 

Public defender Katy O’Donnell called it a “profound” discovery violation and “extraordinary situation.” She asked Judge Laura Ripken to limit testimony from the state’s mental health expert witnesses.

Assistant state’s attorney James Tuomey accused the defense of trying to create a media circus.

 

“The state did everything right,” he told Judge Ripken. “We have been ready to argue on behalf of victims. For them to try to handicap the state… is preposterous. It’s offensive.”

 

Ripken ruled the state had acted appropriately and told O’Donnell, “Please do not roll your eyes at me.”

She then allowed Ramos to meet privately with O’Donnell and his two other defense attorneys.

When court resumed, another judge— Michael Wachs, who handles scheduling—was on the bench. The defense then demanded a postponement and said Ramos agreed to it.

Wachs said, “The rule in place for discovery is not adequate for this type of complex case,” and ordered the trial delayed. “The defense is entitled to a reasonable time to digest disclosures made by the state,” he said.

No new trial date has been set, but Judge Ripken will continue presiding over the case and all sides hope to agree on a date before the end of this week

The trial will determine whether Ramos goes to a secure psychiatric facility like Perkins Hospital in Jessup—or stays in prison.

It will be a battle of experts who disagree about Ramos’ mental state during the murders and whether he should be held criminally responsible for the mass shooting.

The June 2018 massacre was one of the deadliest attacks ever on journalists in America. Those who died are Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara. Ramos had a grudge against the newspaper for an article published years earlier about his stalking of a high school classmate. He repeatedly threatened reporters online.

On Monday, Ramos admitted he was the gunman and pleaded guilty to 23 criminal counts. The trial over his insanity defense is the second and final phase of the case.

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