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Capital Gazette shooter will be confronted with defiance at sentencing hearing

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Family members of the five people killed in the Capital Gazette shooting in Maryland will share how the murders impacted their lives as Jarrod Ramos is sentenced.

Following the trial that found Jarrod Ramos criminally responsible for killing five people at a Maryland newspaper, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitiss told victims of the Capital Gazette shooting that she did everything she could not to give Ramos what he wanted.

In particular, she made sure not to call people he was hoping would testify — people he could look at on the witness stand.

Later, she argued against and knocked down a motion to speed up Ramos’ sentencing, knowing some of those victimized by the shooting would be traveling from long distances to have what would be the final say in the matter. Ramos could receive five life terms without the possibility of parole for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamera, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith.



Their words will be heard for hours on Tuesday, and Ramos, who coldly sat through every hearing and every trial never saying a word — sometimes even refusing to even acknowledge the judge when the judge spoke to him — will have to sit through it all.

In some cases, anguish, grief, and anger will spill out. So will the defiance of victims eager to make sure they get the last word.

“I plan on addressing him,” said Summerleigh Geimer, the daughter of slain reporter Wendi Winters.

Winters traveled from Wisconsin to speak at the sentencing hearing.

“I’m not going to cry that time. It’s been three years and every time I think I’m fine to talk … I cry. Again.”

Joining Geimer in the courtroom will be her sister, Montana.

“He killed our mom at a very formative time in our lives,” Geimer said. “She missed both of my sisters’ weddings. She missed the birth of her first grandchild. She’s going to be missing my wedding. She missed me graduating college. She’s literally missed so many of these important milestones and I want to address that our family has been able to weather that storm.”

Other victims expected to talk include Andrea Chamblee, whose husband John McNamara was one of the five people killed.

Some of what will be said is likely going to refute the things learned during the trial, when Ramos lamented not killing everyone he had hoped to kill, and then disparaged those he did kill, like editor Gerald Fischman and Winters, whose efforts to fight back during the shooting earned her posthumous praise for her heroism, and scorn from Ramos.

“It’s still a very emotional, traumatic event to discuss sometimes,” said Geimer. “But I’m going to show a lot of resiliency in addressing him and I’m going to tell him that he’s a big piece of [fecal matter].

“We are resilient and we refuse to back down and we’re going to press on and we’re going to discuss the legend of Wendi Winters at length,” she added. “And I’ll be fine if I never say his name again.”

WTOP will a team of reporters at Ramos’ sentencing. Follow the coverage throughout the day.

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Jury finds former NASA executive guilty in shooting death of Springfield neighbor

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A former NASA executive who is accused of shooting his neighbor in Springfield, Virginia, with whom he had an ongoing dispute, has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

A former NASA executive who is accused of shooting his neighbor in Springfield, Virginia, with whom he had an ongoing dispute, has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

Michael Hetle, 52, was found guilty of shooting Javon Prather, 24, seven times. The shooting was captured by a Ring doorbell camera.

Hetle claimed he feared for his life when Prather came knocking on the door of his home, but prosecutors called it a coldblooded execution.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said the evidence was pretty clear and the jury agreed that it was “not self-defense, that it was murder in the first degree, which is murder with malice and murder with premeditation.”

Although the facts would have come out one way or the other, Descano said that being able to show the jury what happened from the video footage was a big part of getting the murder conviction.

“Being able to actually show the jury what happened and actually being able to show the demeanor and the seven shots I think really brought home to the jury the malice of getting this first-degree murder conviction,” Descano said.

Hetle was also found guilty of using a weapon in commission of a felony.

Descano said that while the verdict will not return Prather — who had served in the Maryland National Guard — to his loved ones, he hoped that the conviction brings Prather’s family some “small measure of peace.”

Hetle and Prather had simmering disputes since 2016, with Hetle repeatedly complaining and calling police about barking dogs and loud music.

Descano said that evidence submitted during trial revealed that “racial animus was a contributing factor” in Hetle’s actions, citing evidence from Hetle’s son about how the defendant referred to Prather and his wife, among other things that Descano said the jury found compelling.

“The message that I would have to the community is to remember that we all are one community. We all live here together, and Fairfax County is one. We should continue to remember that,” Descano said.

Hetle’s sentencing is scheduled on Jan. 28, 2022, and Descano said he is planning to seek a life sentence.

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Time served for man who threatened Trump with package he said was ‘detonator’

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Jean-Paul Gamarra, 41, of New York, has been sentenced on charges of threatening then-President Donald Trump and the White House complex in March 2017. He gave an officer a package he claimed had a “detonator” in it. It was a Bluetooth keyboard.

A man from Long Island, New York, has been sentenced on charges of threatening then-President Donald Trump and the White House complex during a March 2017 incident.

Jean-Paul Gamarra, 45, of Copiague, was sentenced Thursday after being found guilty on May 27, 2021, of one count each of “threats to the president and threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive” following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to the Justice Department.

Gamarra, who has been in custody for 41 months, was sentenced to time served, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said “is an effective sentence at the higher end of the applicable guidelines range.”

Under U.S. District Judge John D. Bates’ sentencing order, Gamarra will be placed on three years of supervised release.

During that period, Gamarra has to stay away from the White House, maintain mental health treatment, cooperate with the Secret Service in assessing his future risk and avoid all physical and online contact with anyone the Secret Service protects.

On the morning of March 28, 2017, Gamarra approached a uniformed, on-duty Secret Service officer a pedestrian access gate on Pennsylvania Avenue, within 100 yards of the White House.

As established at trial, he presented the officer with a package, stating it contained a “nuclear bomb detonator” that was being presented for “safekeeping.”

“Warning this is a tre threat on the President and Senator life” and “Warning 100% threat Brand New Electronic Detonator Device,” were handwritten on the package along with Gamarra’s name and address.

In response, the Secret Service cleared the surrounding area, including the north fence line of the White House, Lafayette Park and other areas near 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

People inside nearby buildings were told to shelter in place while the D.C. police department’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit evaluated the package.

The package was declared “safe” and the area reopened after approximately 90 minutes, as the package contained a Bluetooth keyboard and letter.

Gamarra was arrested at the scene and was in custody until August 2020, according to a Justice Department news release.

Previously In 2014, Gamarra was interviewed by members of the Secret Service regarding threats to then-President Barack Obama.

The Justice Department said he admitted threatening Obama in order to gain the “attention” of the Secret Service so he could “expose” “corruption.”

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2 Maryland pet stores banned from selling puppies

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Two Maryland pet stores that specialize in puppy sales will no longer be allowed to sell animals and the owner is facing a $500,000 civil penalty after reaching an agreement with the state attorney general.

Two Maryland pet stores that specialize in puppy sales will no longer be allowed to sell animals, and the owner is facing a $500,000 civil penalty after reaching an agreement with the state attorney general.

Just Puppies retail pet stores in Rockville and Towson, along with the stores’ owner, Mitchell Thomson, were charged in June with violating two state laws – the No More Puppy-Mills Act and the Consumer Protection Act — in their practice of selling puppies.

“The settlement prevents Just Puppies from selling dogs in Maryland, provides restitution to Maryland consumers who purchased puppies that had a congenital disorder or hereditary condition or illness at the time of purchase, and imposes civil penalties,” according to a statement Friday from the office of Attorney General Brian Frosh.

The No More Puppy-Mills Act bans the sale of dogs and cats by retail pet stores, in an effort to curb the sourcing of animals from irresponsible breeders.

Frosh’s office contends that the stores misled consumers about their relationships with breeders and continued to sell puppies after the City of Rockville revoked the store’s pet shop license.

“This settlement resolves allegations that Just Puppies and its owner violated laws intended to protect animals from irresponsible breeding and mistreatment,” Frosh said in the statement. “Consumers who were misled by Just Puppies and purchased sick dogs will get their money back or receive compensation to help pay for their pet’s care.”

As part of the settlement, Just Puppies has agreed to refund payments to customers who purchased dogs with certain conditions since Jan. 1, 2020 — the day the No More Puppy-Mills Act went into effect — or pay for treatment of certain conditions.

The settlement also requires Just Puppies to pay a civil penalty of up to $500,000, but the fine could be reduced to $100,000 if the company complies with the remedies in the agreement.

Consumers who are eligible for refunds will be contacted by the Attorney General’s Office. Consumers can also call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6569 with questions.

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