Barry Massey, who was 13 at the time he and a co-defendant murdered a Steilacoom shop owner, will be set free in early 2016. Massey’s release comes on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled it was unconstitutional for juveniles to be automatically sentenced to life without parole.
Massey, who was the youngest person in the U.S. to receive a sentence of life without parole, will be released in February after serving almost 30 years in prison, according to a decision released Thursday by the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.
The board made the unanimous decision after seeing “noticeable and dramatic change” in Massey’s behavior, according to board chair Lynne DeLano. She spoke on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” with host Austin Jenkins. The interview airs Thursday, June 4 at 7 & 10 p.m.
“In his hearing, you could see this is not the 13-year-old who killed that man. It was a brutal murder, but this is not the same 13-year-old. This is a man who has changed his life around,” DeLano said.
TVW taped the board’s March hearing to consider Massey’s release.
In 1987, Massey and Michael Harris shot and stabbed Steilacoom Marina owner Paul Wang during a robbery of the store. Harris was 15 at the time of the crime.
The board is also releasing two other offenders who were juveniles when they were convicted. David Cobabe was convicted of attempted murder, burglary and assault charges. Niguel Jones was convicted of murder and assault.