July 30, 2018 / 8:59 PM / 2 months ago

Accused gunman in Annapolis newsroom shootings pleads not guilty

July 30 (Reuters) - The man accused of shooting five people to death last month at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, entered a plea of not guilty on Monday to all 23 felony charges against him, including five counts of first-degree murder.

The plea was entered on behalf of Jarrod Ramos, 38, by his lawyers in a filing with the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, along with motions seeking a speedy jury trial and to obtain prosecution evidence through pretrial discovery.

The filing negated the need for Ramos to appear in person for arraignment, as scheduled, and he was not in court. He remains jailed without bond. The proceeding was later removed from the docket, according to Emily Morse, a spokeswoman for prosecutors.

Ramos is charged with opening fire in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis on June 28 with a barrage of shotgun blasts, killing four journalists and a sales assistant in an attack police said was motivated by a long-standing grudge he held against the newspaper in Maryland’s state capital.

The community newspaper is owned by the Baltimore Sun. The killings rank as one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history.

Ramos’ defense raised several procedural objections, including an assertion that identification of the defendant at trial would “be tainted as a result of impermissible suggestive identification procedures undertaken by police.”

Morse said a formal ID of Ramos was established through facial recognition technology. She denied as inaccurate reports that the suspect had mutilated his fingertips to avoid identification. She characterized the defense objections as “pretty standard” in such cases.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney

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