Attorney: Court Ruling Should Bolster Barry Massey Clemency Petition

Jun 26, 2012

Before Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire leaves office in January, she will decide whether to commute the life sentence of convicted killer Barry Massey. His attorneys hope this week’s Supreme Court ruling on life without parole for juveniles will bolster their case for clemency.

In 1988, Barry Massey became one of the youngest juveniles in the country sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He and an accomplice brutally murdered a Puget Sound marina owner named Paul Wang. Massey was just 13 at the time of the killing.

Today he’s in his late thirties. And for the second time his plea for clemency is before Gov. Gregoire.

Massey’s attorney is Richard Mitchell. He hopes this week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down mandatory life without parole for juveniles will persuade Gregoire to pardon Massey.

“We have articulated a very lengthy list of extraordinary circumstances in which she could have already granted the pardon, but this decision has just made it clear that there should be no doubt,” Mitchell says.

At a hearing last summer, Paul Wang’s widow begged the state’s clemency board to oppose Massey’s petition.

Washington has nearly 30 juvenile killers serving life without parole. The Supreme Court ruling could end up reopening many of those cases.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network