Ragin found guilty of murdering wife, three stepchildren

NewsChannel 3 is keeping you updated on the John Ragin Trial as it unfolds. NewsChannel 3’s Investigator Jessica Larche has been the only television reporter there for every day of testimony for this capital murder trial.

Ragin is accused of stabbing to death his wife Crystal Ragin and her three children before pouring gasoline on their bodies and setting their home on fire in August 2011. Police said Ragin escaped to South Carolina with the son he shared with his wife.

According to court documents obtained by NewsChannel 3 over the last few years, Crystal Ragin begged a judge to protect her from her husband before the murders. More than than 24 hours after a judge signed off on a protective order, a Newport News sheriff’s deputy finally tried to serve John Ragin, but instead of finding him, the deputy walked into the crime scene.

Ragin has maintained his innocence.

The trial is expected to last at least a month.

Check below for updates on each day of this trial. 

Previous Coverage: 

Ragin Murder Trial: Maintenance worker recalls seeing body of slain 6-year-old boy

Images show accused killer’s appearance after gruesome quadruple murder

Murdered mother made 911 call day before gruesome discovery

Man accused of killing 3 stepchildren and wife cries in court

Capital murder trial for man accused of killing wife, three stepchildren

Man accused of murdering wife and three stepchildren on trial

Doris Taylor April 2, 20145:00 pm

SENTENCING: Wednesday, April 2nd

John Ragin has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife and three step children.

He received three life terms for killing his step children and 40 years for the murder of his wife Crystal Ragin. 

Doris Taylor March 27, 201411:17 pm

VERDICT REACHED: Thursday March, 27th 

John Ragin has been found guilty of capital murder for the stabbing of his wife Crystal Ragin and her three children before pouring gasoline on their bodies and setting their home on fire in August 2011.

Police said Ragin escaped to South Carolina with the son he shared with his wife.

NewsChannel 3′s Investigator Jessica Larche has been the only television reporter there for every day of testimony for this capital murder trial.

According to court documents obtained by NewsChannel 3 over the last few years, Crystal Ragin begged a judge to protect her from her husband before the murders. More than than 24 hours after a judge signed off on a protective order, a Newport News sheriff’s deputy finally tried to serve John Ragin, but instead of finding him, the deputy walked into the crime scene.

Ragin maintained his innocence.

Doris Taylor March 26, 20149:15 pm

Wednesday, March 26th

During a very passionate and at times dramatic closing
argument, the commonwealth said DNA evidence from blood samples taken at the crime scene prove John Ragin killed his wife Crystal and three step children.

Crystal`s sister was overwhelmed with grief in court as
prosecutors talked about the 18 times Crystal was stabbed, 13 times for La`kwan, 16 times for Sierra and 27 times for little Rasheed.

John Ragin began to cry, too.

We again heard a 911 call from Crystal Ragin that was made
the day before the bodies were discovered.

Prosecutors showed surveillance video of Ragin at a 7-Eleven
the night before the bodies were discovered.
They pointed out the number of times he wiped his shirt and checked his
back. The cashier said in court that
when he paid for gasoline, his hand was bloody.

A doctor testified that the injuries likely came from a
blade, not a car door as John told police.

And prosecutors went over DNA evidence saying Ragin`s blood
was in several places in the house and at times mixed with the victims’ blood and
drops of La’kwan`s blood was on Ragin`s shoes.

But Ragin`s lawyer`s argued that the jury has not been given
all of the evidence.  They specifically
pointed out a box of dozens of blood samples that were never sent to the lab
for analysis.  They claim Ragin left
for South Carolina and wasn`t home when his family was killed.

Crystal`s sister, Shelby, has spoken exclusively with NewsChannel
3 about the trial.

“There`s no way a jury can look at those crime scene photos
and have heard the evidence they heard against that monster and not think and
not know that he is responsible for this,” says Shelby, Crystal’s sister. 

Doris Taylor March 25, 20145:45 pm


Tuesday, March 25th

It took less than an hour for the defense to present its case.  Closing arguments will begin. Wednesday morning, and the jury could start deliberating that afternoon.

Tuesday his lawyers called on two U.S. Army officials who
testified about the attempted use of Crystal Ragin’s Army issued credit card
months after the murders.  They never figured out who was behind it.

The defense also called on three Newport News detectives who
said Ragin cried when they told him about his family’s deaths.

It took prosecutors two weeks to present its evidence which included surveillance video of Ragin the night before the bodies were
discovered.  Prosecutors also showed pictures of injuries on ragin’s hand
at the time of his arrest.

If convicted, Ragin could face the death penalty.

Doris Taylor March 24, 20145:11 pm


Monday, March 24th 

NewsChannel 3 has obtained copies of what prosecutors are calling the most compelling evidence in their case against John Moses Ragin.

Prosecutors showed surveillance video of John Ragin buying gasoline the night before the bodies were discovered and pictures of what appear to be stab wounds on Ragin’s hand at the time of his arrest.

“There`s no way a jury can look at those crime scene photos and have heard the evidence they heard against that monster and not think and not know that he is responsible for this,” said Shelby Hancock, Crystal Ragin’s sister.

“He`s the devil walking around in disguise,” said Hancock. “I see pure evil.”
The surveillance video shows Ragin pacing the aisles, repeatedly wiping his face with his shirt, and checking his back. It also shows that he keeps his injured hand in his pocket until he has to pay for gas. The store clerk testified that it looked like Ragin “had been in a fight.”

By 7 a.m. the next day, before the bodies were discovered in Newport News, Ragin was in an emergency room near his hometown Manning, South Carolina. Ragin told police the injuries were from slamming his hand in a car door, but a doctor testified that his injuries more than likely came from stabbing something.

In addition to cuts on his hand, prosecutors showed pictures of what appears to be scratch marks on his neck at the time of Ragin’s arrest. A DNA expert later testified that John Ragin’s DNA was found in blood samples from Crystal Ragin’s finger nails.

The prosecution finished their case last week, and the defense will begin presenting their case Tuesday morning. Ragin has maintained his innocence. If convicted, he faces the death penalty.

Doris Taylor March 20, 20144:28 pm

Thursday, March 20th 

A clinical forensic doctor testified that the injuries on
John Ragin’s right hand at the time of his arrest are consistent with
implementing a sharp edged object. If Ragin stabbed someone and hit a bone, his
hand would slide down the knife, resulting in cuts on his hand. 
John Ragin told investigators he got the
injuries from slamming his hand in a car door.
 

The telephone records analyst also took the stand. He showed
records that on John Ragin’s phone between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on 8/19/11,
roughly four hours before anyone discovered the victims’ bodies, there were
Google searches for news in Newport News, including news for fires.  He also searched WTKR’s mobile site for
Newport News that day. Telephone records also show there were several searches
from his phone for outstanding arrest warrants in Newport News. 

John Ragin’s records indicate calls from his phone to Sierra
and La’Kwan made on 8/19/11.

There were also a series of text messages between John
Ragin’s phone and a contact called “Shuree” on the night of August 18, 2011.
Here are a few excerpts:

John Ragin’s phone: A lot of different sh*t that’s going on
in my life.  Baby mama drama.  You don’t want to hear that s**t.

Shuree’s phone:  Tell
me.  You know I’m here for you.”

John Ragin’s phone: Don’t need you to know right now.  It’s f*cking with me.

Shuree’s phone: Tell me when you’re ready.

John Ragin’s phone: I just need to work this out with
myself.

The prosecution may finish today, meaning the defense could
start their case tomorrow.
  The defense
could call I’Kaos Ragin, the only surviving son.
 John Ragin may take the stand.

Doris Taylor March 19, 20149:21 pm


Wednesday, March 19th 
Surveillance video shows John Ragin buying gasoline with a
bloody hand. Prosecutors say the video was taken after John Ragin killed his
wife and three children. 

The video was shown in court today during Ragin’s capital
murder trial. Prosecutors say it’s part of their most compelling evidence.

The judge is not allowing our cameras to be in court for the
duration of the trial, but Investigator Larche was there to see the video. It
shows Ragin at a 7-Eleven pacing the aisles and wiping his face.

You can also see him checking his shoulders. The cashier who
sold him the gas said he looked like he’d been in a fight.

The next day, his wife and three step children were found
stabbed and covered in gasoline.DNA experts said John Ragin’s DNA was found
under his wife’s finger nails.

They also say La’kwan Ragin’s DNA was found on John Ragin’s shoes.

The case is expected to last another few weeks.

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