Judge drops murder charges against Colonial Heights suspect - WNEM TV 5

Several charges dropped against 2 Colonial Heights beating suspects

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All charges were dismissed against Francis Blaha Friday. All charges were dismissed against Francis Blaha Friday.
Rusty Mack was beaten to death earlier this year. Rusty Mack was beaten to death earlier this year.

A second defendant in the Rusty Mack murder case walked out of court free Friday. A judge dropped all charges against 21 year old Francis Blaha. Initially, he was charged with murder by mob and murder in the 2nd degree.

Also Friday, two of four charges against another defendant are also being thrown out. Teenager Margaret Blair Dacey, who is being tried as an adult, no longer faces murder by mob or felony murder charges but she will be tried for felony assault and murder.

"No comment," said Franics Blaha had nothing to say as he walked out of court holding his mother's hand. His father showed relief the state will not prosecute his son.

Blaha's defense attorney says though he and three others rode to Rusty Mack's home in Blaha's car, Blaha was just an innocent witness of a brawl that turned deadly.

"He didn't do anything to encourage or incite the death of Rusty Mack," said attorney John Rockecharlie.

Mack's mother was in tears again, now that two of the four who were charged are now free.

"It will go down like that with the other ones too," Belinda Cardwell said.

Dacey will head to trial in February. Mack's estranged wife - Ashley Mack faces a December trial in connection with his death. As these cases move forward, Rusty Mack's family wants to see a different prosecutor take over.

"I am consulting with other prosecutors as I did yesterday to make sure I have evaluated the case and evidence properly and that what I'm doing in each step is the right decision," said Commonwealth Attorney William Bray.

Bray says he's willing to meet with an independent prosecutor and Rusty Mack's family to discuss the best way to move forward. A grieving mother is now at a loss for words.

"It's wrong," Cardwell said walking away.

Although Ashley Mack is still charged with murder by mob right now- the state is preparing to meet with a judge very soon to discuss that. Bray says a jury's acquittal of Jonathan Guy last week for murder by mob - might be an indicator of a charge that's not sticking here.

Though Blaha's charges are now dropped, they can come back up anytime if a prosecutor feels there's enough evidence against him to move forward.

Francis Blaha was charged with murder by mob in the death of Rusty Mack. He was set to go on trial Friday morning on the charges, when prosecutors presented a motion to dismiss the charges which the judge granted.

Meanwhile, Mack's family and friends are distributing petitions to area businesses and voters to request a special prosecutor in the remaining cases. They rallied Thursday outside of the Colonial Heights courthouse with signs saying "Justice for Rusty."

Two others remain charged in the beating death, including Mack's estranged-wife, Ashley. Her attorney, Joe Morrissey, has said she had nothing to do with the assault and tried to diffuse the situation. Morrissey says Rusty Mack was intoxicated and instigated the fight and claims cell phone video proves his claim.

Last week, a medical examiner testified Mack died from injuries that followed a lethal blow to the head. Guy's attorney said only one of the four suspects initiated that fatal blow.

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