NEWPORT NEWS -- Opening arguments began in Newport News Circuit Court Wednesday in the capital murder trial against John Ragin.

John Moses Ragin allegedly 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 was extradited to Newport News to face four counts of first-degree murder.

He has denied having anything to do with their deaths.

Prosecutors say Ragin stabbed them multiple times and set their bodies on fire. Police say Ragin then fled the murder scene with his son, winding up at his parents home in South Carolina. That's where he was arrested.

Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn told the jury Wednesday, the crime was 'one of the deadliest days' in Newport News.

Ragin's attorney claims there is no direct evidence that connects his client to the crime. He asked the jury not to base their verdict on emotion, but rather the lack of eveidence - including the murder weapon.

The trial is expected to last between three and five weeks.

Read or Share this story: