A local man sits in a South Carolina jail, awaiting extradition home where he will face four counts of murder in Newport News. John Moses Ragin is accused of killing his wife and three step-children. A protection order may or may not have made a difference on the day the family was killed but the Newport News Sheriff’s Department says they will be speeding up the service of such paperwork regardless.
Crystal Ragin filed and was granted a protection order on August 18. But that order wasn’t served on the same day. According to the Daily Press, when the deputy got to the home to serve John Ragin, police cars and ambulances were already there investigating the slain foursome.
The Department says it wasn’t unusual for a protection order to be served 24 hours after its issuance, particularly in cases where the order didn’t come in until the afternoon. They would simply wait until the next day to attempt contact. But now, things will change.
While the orders used to be served by “civil service deputies”, they will now be delivered by transportation deputies, people who are already working nights and out and about in the area, if they are received late in the day.
The law states that such orders should be served “forthwith” which can be interpreted as immediately. There was a time where the wording said they should be delivered “as soon as possible”, leaving some room for procrastination when the timing wasn’t necessarily convenient.
Most experts agree that a protection order won’t stop someone who is set on committing a very violent act. However, it does make the victim feel safe and may reduce police calls for petty arguments and shoving matches.
This wasn’t the first protection order between Mr. and Mrs. Ragin. As a matter of fact, he had taken one out against her several years ago, showing that domestic violence is sometimes a two way street.
Mr. Ragin can’t be charged with violating a protection order in this case, however, because he was never served. But if convicted of murder, it’s not likely a small charge like a protection order violation would make much of a difference.
If you are accused of violating a protection order, even if it’s just to speak to the other party, you can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, something that could result in jail time and significant fines. In addition, your protection order can be extended for two years after you violate it.
Rarely do domestic violence cases end as tragically as the Ragin’s. But the courts err on the side of caution. If you are facing domestic violence charges or are accused of violating a protection order, contact our offices today.