Jury convicts quadruple murder suspect

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The man accused of killing four people  in Newport News in August 2011 was found guilty by a jury Thursday.

WAVY News’ Ava Hurdle was in the courtroom as the verdicts were read against John Ragin. He was found guilty of second degree murder for his wife Crystal’s death and three counts of capital murder for the deaths of her three children.

He was also convicted of three counts unlawful stabbing and one count of arson. His sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.

“I think the evidence was overwhelming, very strong,” said Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gynn. “I think there was no other suspect or person capable of doing this, but John Ragin.”

Ragin maintains his innocence and now awaits the jury’s decision on what his sentence will be.

“He’s profoundly disappointed, but again, the case is not over yet and we’re not going to comment until we’ve had a chance to speak with the jurors at the sentencing,” said Stephen Givando, Ragin’s attorney.

On Wednesday, after three hours of deliberation, the jury went home without deciding a verdict. They reconvened Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. and the verdict was read before 12:30 p.m.

John Moses Ragin was seen wiping tears from his eyes in court as closing arguments summed up evidence presented during the almost month-long trial.

Prosecutor Valerie Spencer Muth detailed testimony indicating Ragin’s blood found in the apartment where his wife, Crystal, and her three children were stabbed to death drenched in gasoline. She talked about the couple’s rocky relationship and said the possibility of divorce angered Ragin. She said the killings may have been over a $400,000 life insurance policy Crystal, an Army Sgt. had.

Muth encouraged the panel to convict Ragin, but Defense Attorney Robert Morecock said the case against him is circumstantial and asked the jury to find him not guilty. Morecock told the court there were 89 pieces of evidence from the crime scene that went untested, creating a puzzle with only half the pieces as to who actually committed the brutal crimes.

On Wednesday, jury members also requested a laptop to listen to audio and view some videos, to which the judge complied.

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