ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A man who killed five people at a newspaper in Maryland was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five life sentences without the possibility of parole. Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs ordered the sentence for Jarrod Ramos, whom a jury previously found criminally responsible for killing Wendi Winters, John McNamera, Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen and Rebecca Smith with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette’s office in June 2018. Ramos had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to all 23 counts against him in 2019, using Maryland’s version of an insanity defense. The case was delayed several times before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
CHESTER, Mont. — Trevor Fossen was running late for a wedding Saturday afternoon when he turned onto a dusty, gravel road in rural Montana as a westbound train approached the crossing in front of him. The train never made it to the crossing. The next thing Fossen saw was a wall of dust fill the sky. “I started looking at that, wondering what it was, and then I saw the train had tipped over and derailed,” said Fossen, a 29-year-old farmer. It was an Amtrak Empire Builder en route from Chicago to Seattle that had derailed, killing three people and injuring dozens of others. Investigators still don't know what caused the crash. Fossen called 911, setting off a chain reaction of help from residents in the nearby towns of Joplin and Chester as people jumped into action to get people off the train, care for injured passengers and those who were stunned and had suffered bumps, bruises and other less serious injuries. The regional response of volunteer emergency responders, firefighters, law enforcement, medical providers and regular citizens all working together to help those whose trip was so suddenly and violently interrupted embodied the spirit of a rural part of Montana near the Canadian border.
In the nearly nine months since Jan. 6, federal agents have tracked down and arrested more than 600 people across the United States believed to have joined in the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Getting those cases swiftly to trial is turning out to be an even more difficult task. Investigators have collected a mountain of evidence in the attack and are working to organize it and share it with defense attorneys. And that mountain keeps growing with new arrests still happening practically every week. Washington's federal court, meanwhile, is clogged with Jan. 6 cases, which more than double the total number of new criminal cases filed there all of last year. Further complicating things are limitations the court has put on trials because of the coronavirus pandemic. The court delays are dragging out a process already called into question by some right-wing lawmakers, who argue it’s a waste of time and money to prosecute people accused of low-level crimes.