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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 Speaks After Release From Prison

Rhonda Massey
Barry Massey and his wife Rhonda embrace in this selfie taken shortly after he was released from prison. Massey, 42, was sentenced to life in prison without parole at age 14 for the murder of Pierce County marina owner Paul Wang.

Barry Massey became a symbol for juvenile justice reform after he was sentenced to life in prison without parole at age 14. Now 42, Massey was released Tuesday after a change in state law.

Massey walked out of the same prison he entered as a teenage boy -- Monroe Corrections Center.

“I gave my wife a big hug and gave my mom a big, extended hug,” Massey said.

Massey has been locked up since 1987 -- ever since he and an older accomplice killed Piece County marina owner Paul Wang.

“I’m sorry for what happened,” Massey said. “I wish I could change what happened.”

Asked what it was like to go to adult prison at age 15, Massey said he was full of fear. He recalled having to shower with the adult inmates.

“Communal showers and just going through all this was devastating for me mentally,” Massey said.

Massey said he was never victimized.

In a statement, Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said he hopes Massey “uses this second chance to be a productive member of the community.”