Man gets 4 life sentences for brutal murder of wife, step-children in Newport News

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by Velma Scaife, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 26 at 5:22 PM

NEWPORT NEWS -- A judge sentenced John Ragin to four life sentences for the brutal murder of his wife and three step-children in 2011.  

Ragin stabbed his wife, Crystal, and three children-- six-year-old Lakwan, 10-year-old Rasheed, and 15-year-old Sierra. Their bodies were found inside their burned apartment in Denbigh on August 19, 2011.

Crystal was a sergeant in the Army.  Her body suffered 27 stab wounds.

Ragin, who lived in South Carolina, was arrested the next day and extradited to Newport News to face four counts of first-degree murder.

He denied having anything to do with their deaths.

Ragin represented himself Thursday during sentencing at his request. 

For about 35 minutes, he talked continuously, rambling about how he "didn't get a fair trial", how the commonwealth left out evidence that would have raised a reasonable doubt with the jury, and how the commonwealth allowed false testimony.

 "In spite of what Mr. Ragin said, everybody did a competent, excellent job.  He had the best defense anybody could possible have," said Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn. "He's a cold-blooded killer -- a cold-blooded, remorseless killer.  How else would you describe someone who goes through a house and systematically kills everybody.  Especially children that had only known him as a father."

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