NORFOLK - A Virginian-Pilot editor who was harassed for years by the man charged in the killings of five people in Maryland newsroom received a letter Thursday that police believe was sent by the suspect.
Eric Hartley, who once worked for The Capital in Annapolis, Md., found the pink, card-sized envelope in his newsroom mailbox on Thursday. On the envelope was written “anonymous source” in the top-left corner with his name and the Pilot address in the middle. It was postmarked June 28, the day of the shooting in Annapolis.
The letter was turned over unopened to the Norfolk police.
Police told Hartley that the envelope contained an unsigned card along with a compact disc. Police did not indicate what was on the CD. The unsigned, store-bought congratulatory card said, “Smile, you’re on camera” and “It’s your big day. All eyes are on you,” Hartley said.
Police also told Hartley that they found no messages in the envelope that directly threatened him.
A Norfolk police lieutenant told the Pilot’s executive editor, Marisa Porto, on Thursday that they believed the card was from the suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos. [The Pilot is the parent company of Style Weekly].
The department turned the letter over to the FBI, which will take it to the investigating agency, the Anne Arundel County Police in Maryland, a Norfolk police spokesman said.
A spokesman with Anne Arundel police declined to comment on any letters received or sent in relation to the Ramos case.
Ramos, 38, sent three other letters, one to the Capital’s former attorney, one to a Baltimore City judge and one to Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals, Anne Arundel County police told the Baltimore Sun. One of those letters, signed by Ramos, said in part that he was on his way to The Capital “with the objective of killing every person present,” the Sun reported.
Hartley, a former columnist at the Capital, was harassed by Ramos for years. Ramos’ feud with Hartley’s former paper is believed to have begun in 2011, shortly after Hartley wrote a column about a criminal case involving Ramos.
In the column, Hartley wrote about how Ramos had been charged with misdemeanor harassment for a long series of threats he made against a former high school classmate.
Ramos sued Hartley and the newspaper for defamation, but lost the case and his appeal.
He also created a Twitter account that featured a photo of Hartley and listed the handle as @EricHartleyFrnd.