MONROE, Wash. (AP) — A man who was 14 years old when he was sentenced to life without parole for a 1987 murder has been released from a Washington state prison.
Northwest News Network reports that now-42-year-old Barry Massey walked out of Monroe Corrections Center on Tuesday, Feb. 16. He is the first person to benefit from a 2014 state law that presumes juveniles sentenced to life in prison should be released after 25 years behind bars.
His lawyer, Maureen Devlin, described Massey as “appropriately excited and happy.” He was met at the gates by his wife, a former corrections officer whom he met and married while incarcerated.
Massey was 13 when he and an older boy, Michael Harris, shot and stabbed Steilacoom marina owner Paul Wang. They were sentenced to life without parole, but the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 outlawed mandatory life sentences for juveniles. Harris is scheduled to be released in August.
In 2010, Massey and Harris petitioned the clemency board in Olympia.
Massey stated he had rehabilitated and said he was very young at the time of the murder.
On Dec. 1, 2010, Shirley Wang, widow of Paul Wang, wrote to the clemency board, “I find it heartbreaking that the person responsible for destroying my family now wants mercy for his actions of 23 years ago. … And the fact that the clemency board is even willing to hear his plea speaks of a greater mercy for him than for my family.”
At the time Massey was convicted he was the youngest person in the United States to be tried and convicted as an adult for aggravated first degree murder. (end)
Information from a Northwest Asian Weekly story contributed to this report.