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Lawyer weighs insanity defense in the newspaper shooting

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A lawyer for a man accused of the murder of five people in The Capital newsroom has asked a Maryland court more time to consider an insanity defense of his client.

William Davis, a prosecutor, asked the court for “good cause” the granting of an extension of the period for his client, Jarrod Ramos.

In a court filing this week, Davis cited a Maryland law that required a plea of not criminally responsible on account of insanity to be entered at the time the defendant initially pleads “unless there is a good reason is shown.” Davis wrote, there are approximately 800 pages of documents to view, and the material is not in his lab reports, witness statements, crime scene photos and “significant other discoverable information.”

“The board has neither received, nor had sufficient opportunity to assess the full Status of the discovery materials, nor has the board even had the most minimal time to adequately conduct his own independent investigation,” Davis wrote.

A spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams declined to comment.

Davis noted that the decision to enter a plea of “not criminally responsible is a fundamental right of the Defendant and can only be made after a complete research and meaningful consultation with his lawyers.”

“In the light of the nature and the complexity of the case, the limited defence research and further necessary consultations with the Defendant, clearly, there is a good reason for this Court to extend the filing deadlines set forth” in Maryland law, Davis wrote.

Ramos, 38, pleaded not guilty July 30. He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the death of Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Ann Smith and Wendi Winters in the June 28 attack on the editorial office, where the police ” he says with a shotgun blast his way inside. He has also been charged with attempted murder, assault and gun crimes.

Prosecutors say that Ramos carefully planned attack and barricaded the rear exit of the office to prevent people to escape.

Ramos, of Laurel, Maryland, had an old grudge against the newspaper. The Capital had written about Ramos plead guilty to harassment of a former high school classmate in 2011, and Ramos unsuccessfully sued the writer and the newspaper’s publisher for defamation.

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