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A Calvert County teenager has been ordered to report to jail this week to begin a five-year prison sentence from his guilty plea to conspiring to attempt an armed robbery after a thwarted holdup last summer at a St. Mary’s shop.

Morsell Christopher Mackall, 19, of Lusby was one of four people charged in the incident at Three Mules Welding Supply off Great Mills Road. The other three suspects are scheduled to be in court later this year.

“He’s always trying to fit in. These people took advantage of him,” Crystal Jones, Mackall’s mother, said during a Jan. 25 plea hearing. “He just fell in with the wrong people.”

St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard Fritz said in court that the mother of one of the other suspects walked into the shop and told James “Doc” Oliver that he was about to be robbed.

The woman left, Fritz said, and moments later, two men with a “knockoff” version of an AK-47 rifle came in. Oliver pulled out a .38-caliber revolver, the prosecutor said, and told the pair, “You’re not going to rob me, get out of here.”

They complied, and dropped part of the rifle on the ground as they ran to a van, occupied by two women, according to the prosecutor. Police responding to the area conducted a search, including in bushes where they found the rifle, and Fritz said DNA taken from the weapon proved to be a probable match to Mackall’s DNA.

Robyn Riddle, Mackall’s lawyer, said in court that her client scored exceptionally well on the first part of a GED exam, and that “he indicated he is very interested in forensics, such as the DNA we have had in this case.”

Mackall had fallen deeply into a “pill problem,” the defense lawyer said.

The teenager said of his conduct, “I really wasn’t myself. I wish I could take it all back, ... meaning the first pill. It’s hard for me to believe that I actually did this.”

St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm said the nation is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, but that Mackall will have an opportunity to excel in college or a vocational school after his release.

“You don’t belong here,” the judge said. “You’ve taken the first step to try to recover from that. You can’t go back in time. You [can] take this as a learning process. Don’t let this destroy you. You could have died that day, or someone else could.”

Stamm sentenced Mackall to eight years in prison, suspended to the five-year term and five years of supervised probation. The judge agreed to let Mackall turn himself in on Friday of this week, to allow him to complete his exam for a diploma.

“I want you to get that second portion of your GED,” the judge said.

Devonte Sahr Taylor, 23, of Dunkirk is scheduled to face trial in April on attempted armed robbery, assault and weapon charges in the case. Paula Ann Miller, 23, of Lusby now is scheduled to appear in court in March for a docket call on the same charges. Melissa Mae Benton, 36, of Lusby is scheduled for trial on the same charges later this month.

jwharton@somdnews.com