Barry Massey was the youngest person sentenced to life in prison without parole in the United States. Now he will go free.
That decision was announced Thursday by Washington’s Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board.
In 1987, Massey and an older accomplice stabbed and shot to death Steilacoom Marina owner Paul Wang. Massey was just 13 at the time. Now, after nearly 30 years behind bars, Massey will be released on February 16, 2016.
His release follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed mandatory life without parole for juveniles. Two other Washington prisoners, David Cobabe and Niguel Jones, were handed long sentences for violent crimes at age 17 and are now scheduled for release December 12, 2016 due to the same high court decision.
Lynne DeLano chairs the state’s Sentencing Review Board. She said Thursday on TVW's "Inside Olympia" program the vote to release Massey was unanimous.
In his hearing you could just see this is not the 13 year old who killed that man," DeLano said. "It was a brutal murder, but this is not the same 13 year old. This is a man who has changed his life around. He’s changed.
The new Washington law presumes the release of juvenile killers like Massey after 25 years unless there is reason to believe they are likely to commit another crime.
The family of victim Paul Wang opposed his release.