NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — John Ragin was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for brutally killing his wife and three stepchildren. Thursday, from behind bars, he told WAVY.com he has no intention of spending his life in a cell.
Last week, a jury convicted 38-year-old Ragin of stabbing of his wife, Crystal Ragin, and her three children to death before burning one of the victims and trying to burn down their home. Wednesday the jury couldn’t decide if his punishment should be be life or death, so a judge imposed the life sentence.
Thursday, during an exclusive jailhouse interview in Portsmouth, Ragin told 10 On Your Side the same thing he said during his sentencing hearing — that he did not kill his family.
“I can’t help but hurt about the loss of my family, but at the same time I have to hurt about the situation I’m dealing with,” Ragin said. “The entire time I’ve said I’m innocent, and when I left home my family was alive.”
Ragin told WAVY.com that on the night of August 18, 2011 he left home and his family was still alive. He said he later learned of their deaths and then was arrested for their killings.
The gruesome stabbings of Crystal Ragin and her children took place inside their apartment off Old Courthouse Way in Newport News. DNA evidence presented during the trial put Ragin at the crime scene; his blood was at the residence and on the victims. But Ragin told WAVY.com his DNA was there because he lived in the home.
“I did not kill my family, and I’m also saying [there was] a misunderstanding of the evidence,” he said. “If a better, more of the defense was presented, then I would not have been convicted … Maybe if I had testified at trial and not listened to my attorneys, the jury may not have reached an agreement about guilt.”
Ragin repeated that he has been wrongly accused and wrongly convicted: “I’m not the first person who was found guilty and is innocent. I won’t be the last. They got out. I’ll get out.”
Ragin said his focus now is on getting out of prison. He plans to do that by appealing his conviction.
“My future does not consist of life in prison until I’ve fought my last remedy for appeal,” he said. “And because I understand so much about my case, I know my final result for me will not be life in prison. I will win this on appeal.”