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Crime, Law and Justice
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Juvenile Killer Barry Massey Gets Hearing In Advance Of Presumed Release

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Washington Department of Corrections
Barry Massey has been in prison since he was 14 years old.

Freedom could be just weeks away for the youngest person in the U.S. sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Washington inmate Barry Massey received a hearing Tuesday in advance of his presumed release under a new state law.

Massey was just 13 when he participated in the shooting and stabbing death of Steilacoom, Washington, marina owner Paul Wang. Today, Massey is eligible for release. This follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision that found mandatory life without parole for juveniles unconstitutional.

Massey told Washington’s Indeterminate Sentencing Board that after 28 years behind bars he’s ready for a chance on the outside.

“At 13, I didn’t appreciate the consequences of what happened of what I was doing at that time,” he said. “As a 41-year-old man I realize how wrong I was.”

Under a new Washington law, Massey’s release is presumed unless the board finds that he is “more likely than not” to commit a new crime if released.

The prosecutor and the family of Paul Wang oppose letting Massey out of prison.