Opening statements heard in quadruple murder case

John Ragin enters the courtroom, photo by WAVY/Aaron Kurtz.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Opening statements were heard in Newport News Tuesday during the trial of a man charged in the brutal deaths of his wife and her three children.

John Ragin is charged with killing his wife Crystal and her children, all before trying to burn their house down on Aug. 18, 2011.

During his opening statement, Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gynn said that day was the bloodiest day in the history of Newport News. He said Crystal, a mother and a Soldier, fought back, but was found dead in her bedroom of multiple stab wounds. The same was said for two of the children, while the third had been set on fire.

The prosecution also put on several witnesses, including a police officer who saw the protective order Crystal Ragin took out against John.

Ragin’s attorney, Steven Givando, said in his own opening statements there is no evidence linking John Ragan to the crime. No one knows when the victims died and the murder weapon hasn’t been found. He said that once the evidence is in, jurors should find Ragin innocent of the charges.

Ragin’s parents also believe he is innocent.

“If we didn’t think we could prove it, then we wouldn’t be trying it,” Gynn said. “That will all be revealed during the course of the trial. You’ll see the evidence as it comes out.”

The jury will return to court at 10 a.m. Thursday. The trial is expected to last a month or so. If convicted, Ragin could face the death penalty.


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