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

Posted at 8:21 AM, Mar 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-12 17:58:19-04

John Moses Ragin walked into court Wednesday with somewhat of a smirk on his face.

The 38-year-old is facing capital murder charges for the deaths of his wife and three step children in summer 2011.

Investigators say he then fled to South Carolina with the young son he and Crystal shared.

Ragin had an unemotional demeanor as Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn relived the gruesome details of his family's murders during opening statements.

Crystal was stabbed 18 times. 15-year-old Sierra was stabbed 16 times. 11-year-old La'Kwan was stabbed 13 times. And six year old Rashid was stabbed 27 times.

Each of their bodies was covered in gasoline. Sierra was the only one burned.

Prosecutors say they will show surveillance video of John Ragin buying gasoline. A store clerk will testify that he had cut fingers and blood on his hand.

But Ragin's defense attorney Steve Givando said in his opening statement that  there is no direct evidence that connects Ragin to the crime, despite DNA evidence that will be introduced later in the trial.

Newport News Police testified to the history of Crystal and John's stormy relationship. They faced domestic violence charges against each other over time.

But on the day before the murders, Crystal got a protective order against John. Later that day, they ran into each other at a gas station.

Prosecutors played somewhat of a calm 911 call from Crystal during that encounter. You can hear John disagreeing with her as she tells police he won't let her in her car.

Police came to the scene and let John go when they couldn't find the protective order to serve him.

Hours later, she and her three children were dead.

We tried talking to John Ragin's parents after court. They would only say they believe their son is innocent.

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