Court documents have begun to highlight the narrative surrounding the death of Dana Patterson Mackay, a 42-year-old James City County woman found dead in her home Saturday on the 100 block of Teal Way in Williamsburg.
The criminal complaint filed against 35-year-old Nicole Michelle Houchin in Williamsburg-James City County District Court outlines a series of conversations between Dana Mackay’s husband, John, and Houchin where they had fantasized about Dana Mackay’s death so they could be together. Police have said the two were having an affair.
Houchin and John Mackay both face charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They were arrested Monday and appeared in court Tuesday where they accepted court-appointed attorneys.
Emails from July 24, three days before Dana Mackay’s body was discovered in her home, between the two showed them discussing a plan and questioning when Dana Mackay would be gone.
“Will she be gone before I get back?” “I’ll be forever in debt to you and will show you every day,” John Mackay is said to have written. “Trying to make it happen asap,” Houchin replied, according to the complaint.
The complaint included a description written by the investigator about why he believed Houchin should be charged.
Dana Mackay’s mother called a neighbor and asked her to go over and check on Dana on Saturday. The neighbor was able to enter the house through an unlocked door into the garage. She went upstairs where she found a grisly scene, according to the complaint.
The bedroom door had been kicked in, and Dana Mackay’s body was laying naked beside the bed. There were multiple stab wounds to her face, and one of her fingers had been cut off, which was laying beside her hand. Blood was spattered on the wall behind her body, and there was medium-length blond hair in her right hand.
Investigators at the scene turned to John Mackay in their investigation. They soon learned the affair between Houchin and John Mackay started in March, when the pair began working together.
The neighbor who found Dana Mackay’s body told police she and another neighbor had conversations with Dana Mackay in the past where she had expressed “great concern” for her safety, saying she had received multiple threatening text messages from Houchin and that Houchin had been stalking her.
An investigator interviewed Houchin on Sunday. She admitted to the affair with John Mackay and that she was in the area the night of the murder. She also told the investigator she had nothing to do with Dana Mackay’s death, however the investigator noted in the criminal complaint her story changed multiple times.
John Mackay went to the James City County Law Enforcement Center on Monday to speak with the investigator about Dana Mackay’s death. He initially denied any involvement in the death of his wife, though he did admit to the fantasizing about her death. Houchin also brought up the fantasizing during a conversation with investigators Monday.
He told investigators he called Houchin on Monday. He told them she said “it’s done” and “there was a lot of screaming.” Mackay said she also admitted she had to force the door open to gain entry to the bedroom.
In the complaint, when John Mackay said Houchin had called him to say “it’s done,” it also said that “they” had to force entry to the bedroom door.
When asked about that, Maj. Stephen Rubino of the James City County Police Department said it’s their understanding that John Mackay was in New York at the time of the offense and that police are still trying to confirm that. He also said police are looking into whether she had anyone else with her.
“We’re looking into any and all possibilities,” Rubino said. “Even though the arrests have been made, that’s not the conclusion of the case. It’s an ongoing investigation.”
“Mr. Mackay stated he knew she was talking about the death of his wife and he was initially relieved and then very upset,” the investigator wrote in the complaint.
Houchin worked at the Auto Zone near the corner of Second Street and Merrimac Trail in York County. A person who answered the phone at that store said Auto Zone had no comment when asked by a reporter to speak with someone who knows Houchin.
Houchin will next appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 22. John Mackay is due to make an appearance in court at 10 a.m. Sept. 13.