Family of murder victim tortured by thought killer may go free

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

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Steilacoom, Wash. - A man sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or release has won the possibility of walking free one day. Barry Massey was just 13 years old in 1987 when he murdered marina store owner Paul Wang in Steilacoom. Massey shot Wang during a hold-up then left the store along with 15 -year-old accomplice Michael Harris and returned to the crime scene a short time later to discover Wang wasn't dead.

“They came back, saw that the store owner was still alive and the defendant stabbed him repeatedly, leaving the knife in the victim’s neck,” said Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist

 Massey confessed to the murder almost immediately after his arrest saying he killed the store owner because his 15 -year-old accomplice was too chicken. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that life sentences without parole for juveniles were cruel and unusual punishment. Massey won a re-sentencing hearing and on Friday was sentenced to 25 years to life, clearing the way for possible release. 

During the hearing a spokeswoman for Wang’s family told the court the crime still haunts the family, and compared the new sentence and possibility of freedom for his killer to torture.

 “While everybody is concerned about the cruel and unusual punishment for the offender, for the murderer, the family is being tortured by the killer and by the system itself,” said Cindy Bigh.

 In a brief statement Massey apologized saying he felt remorse for Wang’s murder.

Massey is the second convicted killer in Pierce County to win the possibility of parole because of the Supreme Court ruling. In October 2013, Wolfgang Hosfstetter won a reduced sentence for the 1991 murder of Linda Miller at an Orting convenience store.

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