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Despite new law, parole denied for man convicted as a juvenile

COURTESY PHOTO John Moss Jr. received three life sentences for strangling a St. Albans mother and her two children.

A man convicted in the 1980s of strangling a St. Albans mother and her two children will not be released on parole.

John Moss Jr., 52, appeared Tuesday before the state Parole Board. Moss, who received three consecutive life sentences, was eligible for a parole hearing as part of a new law.

The law, House Bill 4210, prohibits a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for those convicted of crimes committed when they were juveniles. Under this law, people have the right to a parole hearing after 15 years.

This also applies to consecutive sentences adding up to more than 15 years.

So far, the parole board has identified seven inmates at Mount Olive Correctional Center to whom the law would apply. Five had hearings Tuesday and the board denied parole for all of them.

They will go before the parole board again in September 2017.

Prosecutors alleged Moss broke into the home of Vanessa Reggettz to steal money and killed the family after Reggettz discovered him and tried to stop him.

Reggettz’s 4-year-old daughter, Bernadette, was found hanging from a door facing the family’s Christmas tree and her 7-year-old son, Paul Eric, was found in a bathtub full of water.

Moss’ attorneys argued at the time their client was innocent and that Vanessa’s husband, Paul Reggettz, was responsible for the crime.

Paul Reggettz originally confessed to the crime, but later said he confessed because he didn’t want troopers to hurt him.

Moss confessed three times to the crime, according to court records.

The jury convicted Moss on three counts of first-degree murder but the state Supreme Court reversed the case on several issues. The case later was retried and Moss again was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder and given three life sentences.

Another Kanawha County case affected by the new law will not go before the parole board until October 2023. In this case, Kelly Juwan Chapman received a life without mercy sentence for shooting a pregnant woman in the stomach, injuring her and causing the death of her fetus.

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at Andrea.Lannom@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5148. Follow her at www.twitter.com/AndreaLannom.

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