Forensic Psychiatrist Testifies In Day Two Of Motions Hearing For Capital Gazette Shooting Case

Prosecutors brought in a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Gregory Saathoff, who believes Ramos is criminally responsible, though his attorneys are trying to argue an insanity defense.

Video Transcript

- Two motion hearings in the case against Capital Gazette gunman Jared Ramos. Today prosecutors brought in an expert who believes Ramos is criminally responsible. His attorneys, they're trying to argue an insanity defense. WJZ Live at 5:00 o'clock tonight. Ava-joye Burnett back at Annapolis today with more on some of those details that came up in court. Ava-joye.

AVA-JOYE BURNETT: Rick, prosecutors brought in a forensic psychiatrist earlier today, and he testified that the fact that Ramos was able to plan and carry out this attack in 2018, that's a sign that he is mentally sound. Ramos's attorneys disagreed with that. And at times, things got very contentious in the courtroom.

Prosecutors brought in Dr. Gregory Saathoff today, a long-time forensic psychiatrist at the University of Virginia. He said it's his opinion Jared Ramos is not insane and took careful steps to plan the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in 2018. When Dr. Saathoff took to the stand, Ramos' view was obstructed. Asked to be moved over so that he could see the witness.

Dr. Saathoff testified that Ramos' grievance against the newspaper because of a previous article they had written about him motivated him to plan the attack. The doctor testified that the calculated, methodical efforts that were actualized speak to criminal responsibility and the state of mind of Mr. Ramos being aware. The doctor also testified that Ramos, who killed five people, had a plan to ensure his own safety once police arrived. This is the moment officers took him into custody.

Ramos has already pleaded guilty, but the next phase of the trial will determine if he's criminally responsible, Maryland's version of an insanity case. The defense asked the court to limit Dr. Saathoff' testimony in June's upcoming trial, and the judge granted some of those requests. One motion in particular will prohibit prosecutors from directly comparing Ramos to other mass shooters.

And we told you that it got really contentious in there between the attorneys. At one point, the judge had to step in and say, "I object to the both of you bickering."

Live in Annapolis, Ava-joye Burnett for WJZ.