Prince Frederick, MD – A Calvert County woman facing murder and armed robbery charges pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in circuit court Tuesday, Nov. 24. Nicole Danielle Dalrymple, 29 of St. Leonard was also sentenced during the same hearing. Judge E. Gregory Wells imposed a life sentence with all but 15 years suspended.

Dalrymple’s attorney, Thomas Axley, affirmed that his client played no role in the death of the victim, Rodney Vincent Mackall, 52 of Prince Frederick, who was found severely beaten March 3 in his driveway off Sixes Road. Axley said Dalrymple’s codefendant, Gary Sylvester Mason, 36 of Port Republic, was the only person who planned and carried out Mackall’s murder. “It’s a classic case of a crime of passion,” said Axley. “Nicole had no idea that anything this close was going to happen.”

The seriosly wounded Mackall was transported to Calvert Memorial Hospital and later transferred to University Medical Center where he died the following afternoon. Mason and Dalrymple were arrested hours after the incident occurred.

Mason pled guilty to murder back in September. His sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 11.

Mason and Dalrymple had reportedly gone to Mackall’s home to purchase drugs on the day the assault occurred. According to the case summary read into the record by Calvert County Deputy State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh, a neighbor told Mackall’s brother that he had observed Dalrymple at the victim’s home the day before the attack. The neighbor stated Dalrymple was there to purchase cocaine. According to the state’s summary, Dalrymple was apparently upset with the price she was being charged for the quantity of drugs she was buying.

According to state’s summary, Dalrymple and Mason were driven to Sixes Road by a third party during the morning hours of March 3. Marsh stated that Dalrymple “initially denied being at Sixes Road and meeting with Rodney.” She also initially claimed she didn’t know the victim. However, a police search of the phones belonging to Dalrymple and Mackall “show numerous prior contacts between the two, including a call half an hour before the assault,” Marsh stated.

When the defendants went to the victim’s residence March 3, Mason had a rubber mallet. When the two met Mackall at his residence, the victim reportedly said “what’s up, gorgeous” to Dalrymple. Mason then struck Mackall several times with the mallet.

According to an autopsy report, Mackall “suffered at least five distinct blows, three to the head and two to his side/chest area,” Marsh stated. “These blows were consistent with being done by a rubber mallet. Additional scrapes and bruising on the victim were consistent with the victim being struck, falling to the ground and continuing to be struck. It is important to note that the victim did not have any defensive injuries, nor were there any injuries to the victim’s hands that would have been consistent with a fight.”

Marsh also noted that a caregiver for the victim’s family gave Mackall a ride to and from a grocery store the day of the incident. “The victim had his wallet on him and offered her money for gas,” Marsh stated. The wallet was missing when Mackall was later found beaten. Mason told police Dalrymple had taken it, an accusation Dalrymple denied. The wallet has never been found.

The mallet used in the attack was recovered by deputies, who looked in the snow off Sixes Road, the location where Mason had advised he had disposed of it.

Investigators recovered cocaine, drug paraphernalia and approximately $180 in cash in the hotel room Dalrymple and Mason were staying in at the time they were caught by police.

“This was always, in of itself, a robbery,” said Marsh. “The defendant before you today set it up.”

Noting that members of Mackall’s family were in the courtroom, Marsh told Wells, “they have a lot of anger.” Family members declined to speak at the hearing.

“I am very remorseful for what happened,” said Dalrymple as she began to cry. “I hope one day the Mackall family will forgive me for what happened.”

“He [Rodney Mackall] lost his life and I understand how the Mackall family feels,” said Wells. He told Dalrymple, “it’s clear to me that you did set up this meeting. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt you didn’t know he [Mason] was going to kill him.” Wells noted that Dalrymple bears culpability for not trying to aid Mackall after he had been severely beaten.

Wells said in addition to 15 years behind bars, Dalrymple will also be placed on probation for five years, recommended for an alcohol and drug recovery program, and is ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

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