RICHMOND, Va. -- Margaret "Blair" Dacey has been released from prison after receiving a pardon from Governor Ralph Northam at the end of last year.
According to CBS6 sources, Dacey was set free on Tuesday.
Dacey had been serving time for her role in the death of a Colonial Heights man named Rusty Mack. She kicked Mack in the head during a fight involving multiple people.
Northam pardoned 26-year-old Dacey even though she had 13 years left in her sentence. Dacey served seven years of her sentence and now has to complete anger management and other transitional courses.
Northam would not go into specifics regarding the pardon but said her pardon request was thoroughly examined and he believes in second chances.
"It's a little overwhelming but I'm just glad to be getting back to normal again," Dacey said in an interview with CBS 6's Jon Burkett. "I mean, it's hard for somebody in my position to get a second chance."
Dacey said that during her time in prison, she stayed out of trouble. She maintained a job, attended school and graduated with her associate's degree. She is currently pursuing her bachelor's in psychology.
All of these are reasons that state senator Joe Morrisey said he had no problem asking for her release.
"She's a classic example of someone who deserves to be pardoned. Finished first in her class while getting an associate's degree, is getting a four-year degree, has availed herself to every opportunity in prison. Is a stellar model inmate. What has she done in her seven years of incarceration? She's always helped others," Morrisey said.
"I've learned to listen. To stop and listen. I didn't always take the best advice in the past and I learned to better myself and stay motivated. When you lose your motivation in a place like that, that's the worst thing you can do. Because you'll be influenced by too many things. And I just want to prove that I'm not the person that made that terrible, terrible mistake that night. That was a complete accident and a tragedy," Dacey said.
Dacey said that while her time in prison was difficult, she believes that she gathered a lot of knowledge along the way.
"There's a lot of lessons I needed to learn. I am a better person for it," Dacey said.
She said moving forward from her prison sentence, she would like to go to law school and fight for youths who may not be understood.
"I feel like the system is very harsh on juveniles. And people need a chance. The worst thing that you can do in prison is to not give somebody a chance. If you don't give somebody a chance, they have no reason to want to do better," Dacey said.
When Mack's parents learned that Dacey was pardoned by the governor, they said were outraged and surprised by the decision. Dacey is hopeful that they can one day forgive her.
"I just want them to know that I never meant to hurt him that night. I did not mean for any of this to happen and I'm so sorry that it did. And I want to do my best to be the best positive example moving forward. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry," Dacey said.