COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WTVR) – The parents of the 21-year-old man brutally beaten by a group of people that Colonial Heights police said included his estranged wife and a teenage girl are opening up about their nightmare for the first time.
Rusty Mack’s father and stepmother told CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil that their lives are on hold as they wait for their son’s accused killers to go on trial. As a result, Mike and Lori Mack have not missed a court date.
“I'm not the first one who’s lost a child through violence or a family member, but I see how much suffering they have to do every time you go to court and you sit there and you listen," said Mack’s father.
For 17 days in February, family members took turns at Rusty's bedside at a local hospital. The first night was a blur for his family.
"It was a long night trying to understand what happened, why and what was going on,” explained Mack’s father.
Mack died a little more than two weeks later.
Court documents reveal that Mack was hit and kicked outside of his Colonial Heights apartment by four people. One of the alleged attackers was his estranged wife, whom he had only been married to for a few months.
"You just don't bring your new boyfriend to your husband’s house,” Mack’s father said. “That's just doesn't make sense. You're asking for trouble.”
Mack’s stepmother said there was no reason for the violence. His father cannot grasp why the group would have come back for a second time.
After his death, Ashley Mack, Jonathan Guy, Francis Blaha and teenager girl were charged with murder by mob.
"It's hard when anybody loses a family member or especially a child,” said Mack. “But to have it happen, you know violent like that, it’s horrible."
Family members said that community support is a comfort. From a candle light vigil to a fundraiser and even donated clothing, the Macks said they are grateful and want to extend their heartfelt thanks to the community.
While the Mack family is hopeful that justice will be served, it will be bittersweet.
"No matter what happens, if they go to jail for life… I'm not going to feel no better, because I still can't go and hug my child,” Mack’s father said.
Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for continuing coverage of this story.