Capital Gazette: "All Of A Sudden... It's Different" : Embedded Part 5: There's one important part of the newspaper's story we couldn't bring you until now: what it's like to have their attacker stand trial. And the unexpected ways that trial can affect you. Plus a big update about the newspaper itself.

Capital Gazette: "All Of A Sudden... It's Different"

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Hey. I'm Kelly McEvers, and this is EMBEDDED from NPR.

Earlier this year, we did a series about a newspaper, the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., where back in 2018, a man walked into the newsroom and shot and killed five people who worked there.

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MCEVERS: Years before, the man had been convicted of harassing a woman he met on Facebook. The paper wrote a story about it, and the man got really angry at the paper. The man eventually pleaded guilty to murdering the five people who worked at the Capital Gazette - Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, and John McNamara. After the shooting, we followed the surviving staff for a couple of years. We wanted to know what life and work would be like for people who went through something like that. But at the time, when we put out our series, there was one part of the story we couldn't include because even though the man had pleaded guilty to the murders, he also pleaded insanity, which meant he eventually would go to trial. And this summer, three years after the shooting, that trial finally started.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Good morning, Your Honor. This is C-02-CR-18-001515, state of Maryland v. Jarrod Ramos.

MCEVERS: Again, this was not about whether the shooter - his name is Jarrod Ramos - committed the crime. Instead, a jury would decide whether he was not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Do you solemnly promise to try the issues in this case and give a true verdict according to the evidence?

UNIDENTIFIED JURORS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Thank you. You may be seated.

MCEVERS: If the jury agreed he was not criminally responsible, instead of going to prison, he'd go to a psychiatric hospital and maybe one day get released, which a lot of the survivors and families of the victims did not want to see happen.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: If he's considered insane, I think just dealing with everyone's disappointment is going to be difficult. And I think if he's considered insane, he wins.

MCEVERS: So today we're going to tell you about the trial because it's actually not super common for mass shooters to make it to trial. Some don't survive the shootings, some, like the Parkland, Fla., high school shooter, plead guilty, and because the ones who might go to trial, like the man who shot and killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, could also use the insanity plea. And we wanted to know how that plea works in mass shootings. Also, as we have throughout this series, we wanted to know what it's like for the survivors and the victims' families years after a horrible thing like this happens to relive it publicly, especially when doing that can mess with the stories that survivors have been telling themselves about the shooting in ways they did not plan for. That's coming up after this break.

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MCEVERS: Hey. We're back. And I just want to give a warning here. This episode does include some really intense testimony about the shooting that is not easy to hear. It might not be suitable for all listeners. And now I'm going to hand this over to Chris Benderev. He is the one who followed the Capital Gazette staff for years.

CHRIS BENDEREV, BYLINE: Let me take you inside the large, windowless courtroom in downtown Annapolis where this all happened. Up front, obviously, the judge - the Honorable Michael Wachs who, on the first morning, told everyone in the gallery that we shouldn't worry if we saw him up out of his chair from time to time.

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MICHAEL WACHS: ...May be standing up and down...

BENDEREV: He's got a bad back.

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WACHS: So if it looks a little awkward, that's why I'm standing up at points.

BENDEREV: On the right side of the gallery, the families of the victims - a lot of them were here every day of the trial. But some didn't come, and neither did most of the staffers who I'd gotten to know at the Capital Gazette. Just past the front edge of the gallery, flanked by two bailiffs, sat the shooter, Jarrod Ramos. The judge had told him that he could wear civilian clothes, but he chose to wear as green jail scrubs anyway. He had a huge unkempt beard, and he'd remain silent the entire trial. In our series, we didn't say much about him. Like a lot of mass shooters, we know he wanted notoriety. But because the first seven days of the trial were devoted to the defense's case, I do want to briefly summarize it for you.

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WACHS: All right. We're ready for opening statements. Defense?

BENDEREV: To be found legally insane in Maryland, you have to convince a jury that mental illness made you unable to, quote, "appreciate the criminality of your crime." The defense said that the shooter was incapable of truly understanding the human tragedy that he'd caused because his whole life he'd never been able to understand human emotions or maintain human relationships. Here's public defender Katy O'Donnell talking about how isolated he'd been leading up to the attack.

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KATY O'DONNELL: He stayed in his apartment for over two years living as a hermit.

BENDEREV: She told the jury that at age 41, he'd never had a romantic relationship of any kind, that he'd cut off contact with his sister three years before the attack, his dad six years, his mom, 14. She said his most meaningful relationship was with his cat, which died of cancer.

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O'DONNELL: Mr. Ramos told our health professionals that he laid on his couch with the cat on his chest, urinating into bottles around the couch so that he did not have to get up while the cat was dying.

BENDEREV: The lawyers for the shooter had hired a psychologist and a psychiatrist to evaluate him. And they both testified that he had OCD and delusional disorder. The attack, they said, had been motivated by a delusional obsession with the idea that the Capital Gazette was plotting to ruin his life. This, they argued, was another reason that he hadn't been able to appreciate the criminality of the shooting. The six survivors of the shooting weren't actually allowed to attend this part of the trial because they were going to be called as witnesses later. But some still followed along, like Selene San Felice. She's the reporter who'd gone on CNN just hours after the shooting and said people will forget about us after a week. This summer, as Selene learned more about the shooter's defense, she started to worry that all these weird details about his depressing life would crowd out the story of what he'd done.

SELENE SAN FELICE: This is just going to be all about his beard and his cat and his urine in bottles and his weird life. And they're trying to prove that he's insane, right? But it just becomes a spectacle. It makes us look like a Netflix show about Ted Bundy or whatever, rather than people who survived something.

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ANNE COLT LEITESS: I want to take you back to June 28, 2018. Do you remember that day?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Yes.

BENDEREV: On Day 8 of the trial, the prosecution called the stand the only eyewitnesses to the crime - six current and former employees of the Capital Gazette - and asked them to tell the story of that day.

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COLT LEITESS: And tell us what you first heard or saw.

RACHAEL PACELLA: I heard a loud bang, and I heard the glass doors at the front of the office shatter.

BENDEREV: This is reporter Rachael Pacella talking about when the shooter blasted his way in with a shotgun. There was also Anthony Messenger who was on just the third week of his internship.

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ANTHONY MESSENGER: At that point, I still didn't know that there was anything sinister going on. I just - something wasn't right.

JANEL COOLEY: And then I heard the shotgun go off.

BENDEREV: Janel Cooley is an ad sales rep with the company. She hid as the shooter walked past her cubicle.

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COOLEY: He was walking very purposefully very methodically down the walkway.

BENDEREV: Reporter Phil Davis heard the shooter reload.

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PHIL DAVIS: He must have been only a few feet from where I was hiding.

BENDEREV: And Photographer Paul Gillespie would eventually flee as the shooter fired at him and missed. But initially, all he could do was tuck himself under a desk.

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COLT LEITESS: What did you do next?

PAUL GILLESPIE: I sat there curled up in a ball, hoping that they didn't see me, thinking about how I can't believe this is happening. I'm going to die.

COLT LEITESS: OK, Ms. San Felice, I'm going to show you what has been marked as states 97-G. Can you tell us what's depicted in this photograph?

SAN FELICE: Yeah. That's me trying to get out the back door.

BENDEREV: The lead prosecutor, Anne Colt Leitess, was showing the jury security camera footage of Selene in a gray cotton dress, leaning her weight against the newsroom's back door, which wasn't opening. That's because before he blasted his way through the front entrance, the shooter had barricaded the back door, the only other exit.

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COLT LEITESS: But at the time, you didn't realize that.

SAN FELICE: Correct. I didn't realize at the time.

COLT LEITESS: OK.

BENDEREV: Selene was sitting in the witness box, keeping her eyes locked on the prosecutor in front of her. She did not want her eyes to drift over to the defense table where the shooter was sitting just a few paces away. The only other time that she'd been in court with him, she'd felt terrified, had to move to the end of the row to get further from him. But Selene also knew this about testifying.

SAN FELICE: I mean, I have to relive it for the jury because they didn't live it. Like, they didn't read coverage of this, and now they're not allowed to. So this is them learning about what happened.

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BENDEREV: Selene, other survivors, the families and the prosecutors - they needed the jury to learn about things like the blocked back door, or how the shooter had researched average police response times to mass shootings and ran a countdown timer on his wrist during the attack, or how he'd waited to buy a shotgun until after he'd done a reconnaissance trip to the Capital's office building, in case he got caught. To them, these were clear signs that this was a premeditated act of revenge, not some psychotic break.

SAN FELICE: This is a person who did something really meticulously evil, and so I think he's sane. That's what I know to be true. It's just a matter of proving it.

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BENDEREV: Back in the courtroom, the prosecutor finished walking Selene through the shooting, through seeing a colleague get shot, through hiding underneath the desk.

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COLT LEITESS: What did you text your parents?

SAN FELICE: I texted them that there's an active shooter in the newsroom and that I love them. I wanted to make sure I didn't tell them that I was going to be OK.

BENDEREV: After the testimony, Selene went back to her parents' house and took a long nap. Then that evening, she celebrated her 26th birthday. She was laughing and hugging people. As for the trial, the prosecution would rest its case soon. There was no more autopsies or crime scene evidence to present. It really seemed like the hardest part of this whole thing was over. Then, four days later....

SAN FELICE: I was at dinner tonight...

BENDEREV: I got a voice memo from Selene, who had gone back to Florida, where she lives now.

SAN FELICE: And I picked up my phone after. And I noticed that one of my friends just said I love you, which was weird. And then my dad asked if I was OK. And, like, I just, like, was really confused. And I called my parents, and they filled me in on what happened in court today. And I don't know what to do with this.

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MCEVERS: We'll be back after this break.

Hey. We are back. And let's pick up the story about the insanity trial of the Capital Gazette newspaper shooter. And just a warning again - some of what you're about to hear is going to be intense.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Please state your name, your occupation for the record.

SAMEER PATEL: Sure. My name is Sameer Patel. I'm a forensic psychiatrist at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center.

BENDEREV: It was Dr. Sameer Patel's testimony that would lead to all those people texting Selene. Dr. Patel was a little different than the other dueling mental health experts who'd been hired by the defense or the prosecution. He'd been commissioned by the court to evaluate the defendant's sanity.

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PATEL: I've done approximately 60 criminal responsibility evaluations. I've supervised many others.

BENDEREV: Patel spent 20 hours interviewing the shooter - more than any of the other experts.

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PATEL: I found Mr. Ramos to be extremely open, very willing to talk. And he wanted to tell his story.

BENDEREV: He says Ramos told him about a handful of moments from the shooting itself. And the prosecutor worked her way down that list of moments.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Is there a second area of description that you found notable?

PATEL: Yes. And this one is really difficult, but - I apologize - it's just very important. It's instructive, and it's important to know.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Objection, Your Honor.

BENDEREV: The defense was objecting to Patel giving his opinion during his answer to a yes or no question. And the judge sustained the objection. But eventually Patel got to the story that the shooter had told him. The shooter said that he'd shot everyone that he could find in the newsroom, a total of four people.

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PATEL: He had gone to the conference room. He had dropped his weapon. He'd taken off his eyewear, and he removed his earplugs. He wanted to send a tweet out. And this is something he'd planned before the attack. So he was looking for a computer to use to send a tweet out of. So he went across to the editors' corner, and he saw Mr. Fischman lying underneath the desk, hiding.

BENDEREV: Mr. Fischman was 61-year-old Gerald Fischman, who'd edited the opinion page of the paper for 26 years. Gerald Fischman was known for being shy, kind, quick-witted and extremely intelligent about a lot of things, but especially this part of Maryland. The columns that he edited and wrote were incisive and analytical. In his spare time, though, he wrote poems for his wife.

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PATEL: So he ran back to the conference...

BENDEREV: When the shooter saw Gerald Fischman under that desk, Dr. Patel says the shooter ran to grab his shotgun again and then came back.

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PATEL: And pulled the trigger on a close shot and killed Mr. Fischman. And he expressed the joy he felt in ending Mr. Fischman's life. That's not something I normally see in forensics. I've been doing this a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Objection.

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BENDEREV: It's possible that hearing this story will make you think this person must be insane. But according to the prosecutor, Dr. Patel says that most of the time, when someone who's legally insane realizes that they've killed someone, they actually feel a terrible sense of regret. When it came to this murderer and how he'd expressed joy, Patel said, quote, "there's no mental disorder that accounts for that." In other words, being depraved and bizarre is not the same thing as being legally insane.

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COLT LEITESS: Did Mr. Ramos have any expression of remorse...

PATEL: None at all.

COLT LEITESS: ...During any of your interviews with him for 20-plus hours?

PATEL: His only regret was that he was unable to kill more people. And there were people there he specifically - that he wanted to kill that he missed and later found out that were hiding there.

COLT LEITESS: And who are those people that he regrets not being able to kill that were hiding?

PATEL: Specifically, Phil Davis and Selene San Felice.

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BENDEREV: That gasp you heard was from Selene's dad, a former detective.

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BENDEREV: This is why Selene was getting so many texts from her friends and family that night when she was at dinner. But actually, the prosecutors had warned Selene about what the shooter had said about her. She was prepared for that. The thing that had blindsided her was the story about the fifth murder, of Gerald Fischman. His desk had been on the office's main corridor. And Selene had assumed that he just hadn't or couldn't hide and, like the other four, had been shot during the first minute and a half of the attack when the shooter fired off 10 shots.

SAN FELICE: It was my impression that if you were hiding, he didn't have time to come find you.

BENDEREV: Selene, who'd hid, told herself this over and over. She'd replayed the shooting in her head this way so many times.

SAN FELICE: When you've been trying for three years to move past it and make it not scary, like, you tell yourself every day the same thing so you can kind of make it a distant memory and desensitize yourself to it. And all of a sudden, it's not. It's different.

BENDEREV: That led her to two new thoughts. Firstly, she was more at risk, and the shooting had somehow been scarier than she'd even realized. And secondly, her survival and the safety that she'd felt under that desk made her now feel even more guilty, worse for her colleague.

SAN FELICE: Because at a certain point, I thought, OK, I must be safe. And maybe Gerald thought that, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLUE DOT SESSIONS' "HOLO")

BENDEREV: In fact, there were a lot of other moments in the trial that also messed with how people remembered the shooting. Take Janel Cooley, who you heard earlier on the stand saying this about the shooter.

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COOLEY: He was walking very purposefully, very methodically down the walkway.

BENDEREV: Janel's an ad sales rep for The Capital. And she'd been friends with sales assistant Rebecca Smith. They'd gossip together and joked about that one colleague who always burned popcorn in the microwave. On the day of the shooting, Janel escaped by running out the front door. But as she approached it, she saw Rebecca, who'd been shot and was injured, lying on the ground. The shooter was coming back towards them, so Janel knew there wasn't time to try to save her friend. But she also remembers thinking that she could not just hop over her either. So she took a second to lean down and put a hand on Rebecca.

Before the trial, prosecutors called Janel into prep. They showed her the surveillance video of what happened. And Janel says it didn't look like she'd even stopped. She says, at first, she thought there was something wrong with the video, like it had been sped up.

'Cause your memory of it is that you stopped there.

COOLEY: Yeah. Like, I stopped for a second, and I touched her just to have this one moment of compassion before I fled. But the special moment that I had with Rebecca - like, it doesn't even look like it happened because I was running so fast.

BENDEREV: Rebecca would end up being one of the five who didn't survive.

COOLEY: It's like I wish I just had, like, two more seconds with her. Like, I wish our - you know, like, does she - did she know I touched her? I mean, it just all happened so fast.

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BENDEREV: Janel worried about others seeing the video in court. She says it took multiple sessions with her therapist to convince herself that, no, people won't think you're a bad person and, no, you didn't betray your friend.

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BENDEREV: This summer, I also talked to Sandy Phillips, the mom of one of the victims in that Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting back in 2012. That was basically the last high-profile mass shooting trial where the shooter submitted an insanity defense. And I wanted to know what the trial had been like for her. She says she was glad when the jury rejected the shooter's insanity defense. But she didn't walk away with closure. She told me she'd walked away with more information. Some of it was useful, but she'd also learned details that she wished she could unknow.

SANDY PHILLIPS: I mean, in our case, he was playing music in his headphones while he was killing everyone so he wouldn't hear them scream.

BENDEREV: Did that come out at the trial or did you already know that?

PHILLIPS: Yeah. No, it came out at the trial.

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BENDEREV: Sandy told me that's the price of going to trial.

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WACHS: OK, my understanding from the clerk is that we have a verdict. I'm going to invite the jury in. Can you invite them in, please?

BENDEREV: After 12 days of testimony, the jury took just 45 minutes to reach a verdict. And a quick reminder here, the jury hadn't actually been asked, was the defendant sane or insane? They'd been asked, was he criminally responsible, 'cause he'd known what he was doing, or was he not criminally responsible, 'cause he'd been insane?

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Mr. Foreperson, how do you find the defendant as to the issue of responsibility? Criminally responsible? Not criminally responsible?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: We found him criminally responsible.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: Thank you. You can have a seat, sir.

BENDEREV: The jury decided that Jarrod Ramos had been sane. And therefore, he should be sent to prison.

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BENDEREV: A few people, including Janel, told me that the trial had given them some closure. But the majority said that that word still didn't seem right - the survivors who'd had to tell the jury about the worst day of their lives and the families that had to sit there absorbing lots of gruesome evidence without a chance to say anything. But there was one court hearing left. It would decide if the shooter would receive Maryland's harshest penalty - a life sentence without the possibility of parole. And a lot of people wanted to be there for that.

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ANDREA CHAMBLEE: My name is Andrea Chamblee. Thank you for having us all here.

BENDEREV: In late September, 12 people took turns walking up to a podium, facing the judge, and delivering their victim impact statements. There were the children who'd gone through milestones short one parent.

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CHAMBLEE: Our wedding's missing the matriarch, delivery rooms missing grandma.

BENDEREV: And there was the widow who'd cried in the bathroom of a CarMax after selling her husband's car. But the statements weren't only about grief. Maria Hiaasen is the widow of beloved editor Rob Hiaasen. Rob had helped edit the original story that had gotten the shooter angry enough to plan a mass shooting, a story about how he'd been convicted of harassing a woman. Maria hadn't come to the trial, but she'd spent years waiting to be in this courtroom for this moment.

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MARIA HIAASEN: Because I wanted to say out loud that Rob didn't do anything wrong. The Capital Gazette didn't do anything wrong. And I needed to say that in open court.

BENDEREV: Andrea Chamblee, who lost her husband, reporter John McNamara, told the court how she'd become an activist for gun control, how she'd joined other people who'd also lost loved ones to gun violence.

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CHAMBLEE: The defendant didn't succeed in his goal to destroy me. In the last three years, I've tapped into a powerful network of friends and supporters that he will never know or could ever imagine.

BENDEREV: There was one more widow who read a statement, someone who rarely speaks publicly about the shooting.

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ERICA FISCHMAN: Hello. Hello, everyone. I'm Erica Fischman, Gerald Fischman's widow.

BENDEREV: Erica Fischman was an opera singer originally from Mongolia. She and Gerald met later in life at the opera in Washington, D.C. She told the courtroom what a caring father that he'd been to her daughter. She read one of the many poems that he'd written her. And she said this about him.

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FISCHMAN: There is one big difference between a good man and evil man. Everyone loves to remember and talk about how the good man lived and loved.

BENDEREV: But the shooter, his moment in the spotlight would be over soon. Nobody will remember him, she said.

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BENDEREV: When Selene walked up to the podium for her statement, it was the third time she'd been in a courtroom with the shooter. Her first time, she'd felt this wave of fear come over her, had literally retreated down her row from him. This summer when she'd testified, she'd made sure not to look at him from the witness box. But today, she began her statement this way.

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SAN FELICE: Three years ago, the defendant in this case said that one of his only regrets of June 28 was not killing me.

BENDEREV: Then before delivering her next line, she quickly turned her head to her left and looked straight at the shooter who was looking back.

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SAN FELICE: He should still regret it, because every day since you failed to kill me, I've committed my life to becoming a stronger and more outspoken journalist. The day after he didn't kill me, I went back to work. I got right back to writing stories that made people like him angry.

BENDEREV: Selene did talk about how she'd struggled after the shooting. "There were days I wondered why I lived," she said, "or if I should live at all." But she says doing her job had helped. Near the end of her speech, Selene turned to look at the shooter one more time. She told me later that that eye contact had changed something in her for the better.

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SAN FELICE: Remember this. No matter how many journalists you shoot, you cannot kill the truth.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WACHS: The impact of this case is just simply immense.

BENDEREV: After the statements were finished and the judge started to speak, I looked around the courtroom. I saw a lot of those people from the Capital Gazette whom I hadn't seen at the trial - Josh McKerrow, that photographer who'd worked out of a pickup truck the day of the shooting to help put out the next morning's paper, Danielle Ohl, the former city government reporter and chair of the paper's union. They both looked nervous. I also saw Rick Hutzell, the paper's top editor. He was jotting something down in a small notebook.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RICK HUTZELL: I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Capital Gazette newspaper. They published the very day following this horrific event. The defendant did not get the final say. The First Amendment and the community got the final say.

BENDEREV: The judge handed down five life sentences, without the possibility of parole - one for each person killed - to be served consecutively, plus 345 more years on attempted murder, assault and firearms charges. In the end, he imposed the maximum sentence on all 23 counts.

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WACHS: Thank you all very much. That concludes the sentencing.

BENDEREV: The shooter stood up, and then a bailiff cuffed him and led him out of a side door. A lot of the families and survivors watched as he left. They'd never have to see him again.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: Just one last thing before we go - an update about the newspaper - while the judge commended the Capital Gazette for standing up for the truth, the paper is barely hanging on. The newsroom closed during COVID and never reopened. A place that used to have dozens of people on staff now has nine. If you listened to our series about the Capital Gazette, you might remember that at one point a local businessman named Stewart Bainum said he was going to buy the paper and its parent company and try to make things better. That didn't happen. His plan fell through. And instead, a hedge fund that has been called the Grim Reaper of American newspapers bought the Capital Gazette. The company - its name is Alden Global Capital - is known for dramatically downsizing newsrooms so it can get as much profit as possible.

So some of the people who had been there for a while and who were a big part of our series left the Capital Gazette - Chase Cook, who helped put out a damn paper the day of the shooting from the back of a pickup truck, Danielle Ohl, the head of the paper's union, who led demonstrations to get community support for the paper and, after a lot of back and forth...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HUTZELL: Wow. Well, thank you all so much for coming. This was very unexpected and very nice.

MCEVERS: Rick Hutzell, the editor-in-chief, the boss who worked there for 32 years, who held everything together after the shooting, who fought hard so his paper, not the parent paper, could cover the story of the shooting and all that followed - at his going-away party, Rick made a speech about what it was like to go to work for the last time, and we wanted you to hear it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HUTZELL: So today when Mr. Worthington (ph) called to point out how angry he was that the delivery person was not putting his paper in the box like they have for the past 30 years, he said he was ready to quit the paper. I did say, I will miss you when you go.

(LAUGHTER)

HUTZELL: And then I got a phone call from someone who was upset because the photos on page B5 of Tuesday's sports section were overexposed. That was...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: Mindblowing.

HUTZELL: ...My last official act as a polite phone person. From now on, if you call me and say stupid shit, I'm just (crosstalk).

(LAUGHTER)

HUTZELL: But (crying) it has been, you know, a great ride. And, you know, it's the best job I'm ever going to have. None of us make enough money that this is worth doing if you don't enjoy it. Every day I have been excited to come in and work. And I know it's exhausting and tiring. But at the end of the day, you know, you feel clean. You've done something good. You know, you haven't kissed anybody's ass - pretty much, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

HUTZELL: I mean, not in the way, I think, that most people do going through their lives. So that's it for me.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: Eat the cake.

HUTZELL: Eat the cake.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #11: Rick, pass the cupcake first.

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MCEVERS: This episode was reported by Chris Benderev and edited by Jenny Schmidt and me - special thanks to Dan Girma, Jess Jiang, Ali (ph) MacAdam, Lisa Pollak, Tracy Brannstrom, Larry Fitch, Jason Silva, Jennifer Alexander, Ragy Girgis, Peter O'Neill and Annette Hanson - fact-checking by Nicolette Khan and Mary Glendinning - incredible legal help. Thank you, guys, from Micah Ratner, Ashley Messenger, Charles Tobin, Max Mishkin and Leslie Minora. Our senior supervising producer is Nicole Beemsterboer. Our supervising producer is Liana Simstrom. Music in this episode was by Blue Dot Sessions. We will be back soon with more. Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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