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Joe Morrissey says woman who killed Rusty Mack deserves to be freed

Posted at 4:39 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 00:29:14-05

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- State Senator Joe Morrissey (D - Richmond) said convicted murderer Blair Dacey deserved to get out of prison early on a conditional pardon.

"I can't think of anyone more deserving of a conditional pardon than Blair Dacey," Morrissey, the disbarred former Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney who said he has worked with Dacey pro bono for the last seven years, said. "One of the greatest miscarriages of justice in giving 20 years to this teenager."

He said he expected her to be home for Christmas.

Morrissey's statements came one day after CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil reported Dacey, who was 18-years-old in 2014 when a judge sentenced her to 20 years in prison, will be released from incarceration early.

Dacey, now 26, was convicted of second-degree murder and assault and battery in the death of Rusty Mack.

Margaret Blair Dacey 02.png
Blair Dacey

Mack, 21, was killed outside his Colonial Heights apartment in February 2013.

Dacey kicked Mack in the head, police said.

Four people were arrested and charged in connection with Mack's death, but Dacey was the only one convicted.

"It’s tragic and I feel horrible for the family. But it was a miscarriage of justice to find her guilty. And it was a disgrace to give this young girl 20 years in prison," Morrissey said. "Governor Northam did the right thing in pardoning her and now she can go on with her life."

Morrissey added that Dacey had turned down a plea agreement for a lesser charge before her case went to trial.

"Every body else was acquitted, dismissed, or not guilty. And the jury found her guilty."

He said before then, Dacey had never been in trouble with the law, and had been a straight-A student.

While in prison, Morrissey said Dacey had earned her associates and four-year degree, and was infraction free.

"She is a stellar inmate," he said.

Dacey would have to complete a re-entry program and agree to a three-year probation program prior to her release, Morrissey added.

Her potential release, seven years into her prison sentence, came as a shock to Mack's parents.

"What is he thinking?" Mike Mack said about Governor Northam's decision to grant Dacey a conditional pardon. "She was convicted by her peers and sentenced."

Mack said he had been trying to contact the Governor's Office to no avail since early in the week.

"I'd love to sit at a table and just ask him why? What gave Blair the privilege of getting what she's getting?" Mack said. "Twenty years doesn't replace my son. My son's gone."

One day after saying it would not comment on individual pardon petitions, the Governor's Office on Wednesday shared the following information:

Margaret Blair Dacey submitted a petition for a conditional pardon which has been under review since it was received earlier this year.

The Constitution of Virginia grants the Governor the power to "grant reprieves and pardons after conviction"; Governor Northam has used that power to provide second chances to Virginians and grant reprieve to individuals who have served significant periods of time and demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation.

Each pardon petition is unique and considered thoroughly.

Governor Northam has reviewed the pardon petition submitted by Margaret Blair Dacey and decided to grant a conditional pardon.

This pardon is conditioned on numerous factors, including Ms. Dacey completing reentry programming prior to her release, as well as serving on supervised probation for three years.

Nothing can bring back Mr. Mack, and his family’s feeling of immense loss and the void left by the death of their son is unimaginable.

Ms. Dacey has served over seven years of her sentence of incarceration and has shown remorse and a commitment to public safety.

Further, at the time of the trial, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office encouraged Ms. Daley to consider a plea bargain for a lesser charge, which would carry a significantly shorter sentence of incarceration, which Ms. Daley declined.

"They've known about this since the first a year. Why didn't they contact the victims, the family, or anybody to come up and give their part?" Mike Mack said. "And why wait till Christmas to come out and do something like this?"

Colonial Heights Commonwealth's Attorney Gray Collins said he found out about the conditional pardon on Tuesday morning and was concerned the court's sentencing was not upheld.

"Just kind of takes you back to the very beginning, a lot of bad feelings, memories come up, it's just hard to deal with," Rusty's step-mother Lori Mack said.

Rusty Mack.png
Rusty Mack

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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