Updated: Friday, 18 May 2012, 7:39 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 17 May 2012, 6:52 PM EDT
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A Newport News man accused of killing his wife and three stepchildren could get the death penalty.
Police found the victims stabbed to death inside an apartment off Old Courthouse Way in August. John Ragin faced a judge Thursday morning during a four-hour preliminary hearing.
Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn is waiting for additional information before he says he will make a decision as to whether or not move forward with a death penalty case.
Testimony indicated John Ragin stabbed his wife Crystal and her three children multiple times before setting them and their apartment on fire and fleeing. The day before, a police officer told the court Ragin said his wife cheated on him. The officer said the wife told him she had a protective order.
Nine witnesses spoke over the course of several hours ad the prosecution attempted to show motive for the killings.
“It’s a very serious case,” Gwynn told WAVY.com. “It’s a very serious case. There are a lot of emotions involved. When you have this kind of case when children are killed, there are a lot of emotions. We wanted to make sure we dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s.”
Gwynn said he’s thinking about the possibility of seeking the death penalty.
“Because there are a lot of factors to consider,” Gwynn added. “Have to consider the wishes of the family, the facts in the case, egregious nature of the case, the defendant’s background.”
Ragin’s sister Angela White says the prosecutor has it all wrong.
“John wants the whole world to know he’s innocent and he wants to know who could have done this to his family as well,” White told WAVY.com. She said her brother was in South Carolina at the time of the killings and not the monster she says someone from the victim’s family called him.
“He’s not a monster,” she added. “They need to learn the facts and the truth behind what’s real. John would never hurt his family.”
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