Accused gunman in Annapolis newsroom shootings pleads not guilty

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(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.

Jarrod Ramos, suspected of killing five people at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018 is seen in this Anne Arundel Police Department booking photo provided June 29, 2018. Anne Arundel Police/Handout via REUTERS

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.

Candles representing the slain Capital Gazette journalists sit on display during a candlelight vigil held near the newspaper’s office, the day after a gunman killed five people inside the building in Annapolis, Maryland. REUTERS/Leah Millis REUTERS/Leah Millis

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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