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A lawyer in Texas is accused of slipping his wife an abortion-causing medication because he feared that her having a baby after they separated would make him “look like a jerk.”
Mason Herring, 38, was charged with assault on a pregnant person and assault to force abortion, according to ABC Houston affiliate KTRK-TV. He is the first person in the county charged under the law, which went into effect in August when Texas' trigger law on abortions took effect because Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Herring, a founder of the Herring Law Firm in Houston, was was arrested on May 27, but only recently indicted by a Harris County grand jury, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.
Herring’s wife, whose name Oxygen.com is declining to publish, walked into the Houston Police Department on April 27 and claimed that her husband of 11 years was poisoning her, according to the probable cause affidavit signed by the Harris County District Attorney’s office on May 25.
The complainant alleged she and Mason had separated in late February after Mason confessed to exchanging flirtatious texts with a former female employee. Although entering into a separation was reportedly Mason’s idea, both agreed to go to marriage counseling while the wife moved out of the home, according to her statement.
It was during one of the marriage counseling sessions on March 8 that the woman told Mason she was pregnant.
“Complainant stated that defendant had a negative reaction, and after that evening, he sent her text messages expressing that he was not happy about the pregnancy and did not know what to do,” wrote Houston Police investigator A. Otero.
The wife claimed Mason said that a pregnancy would “ruin his plans” and “make him look like a jerk,” according to the affidavit.
Then, between March 12 and March 16, the couple took their children for a spring break vacation in western Texas, where Mason allegedly “began talking about her hydration” and convinced her to drink more water. The wife said he often ensured she finished her glass — including on March 18, when Mason allegedly showed up at her Houston residence and offered her a drink.
About half an hour later, the woman suffered “extreme painful cramping” and uncontrollable diarrhea, forcing her to make back-and-forth trips to the restroom, according to the affidavit. After several bouts of sickness, she discovered a “large amount of blood,” prompting her to seek emergency care.
According to KTRK-TV, she did not lose the baby.
After being released from the hospital, Mason allegedly tried giving her drinks on three subsequent occasions and, each time, the woman said she “observed an unknown substance” or a broken seal on the bottle.
Fearing her husband had been behind her sickness, the alleged victim had cameras installed in her home. One video — later reviewed by police — allegedly captured Mason on April 24, cleaning out his truck and taking the trash to the curb.
The wife said was “out of character” because “he does not do chores around the house,” the affidavit stated.
After Mason left, the wife said she found blister packs for a Mexican pharmacy version of “Cytotec,” a medication containing Misoprostol.
In an interview with police, the complainant’s OBGYN stated the drug could create strong uterine contractions, causing miscarriage and other symptoms, including diarrhea and bleeding.
Later tests allegedly confirmed that six samples provided by the complainant were positive for Misoprostol, according to the ABC affiliate.
Investigators also reviewed additional security footage from the home and “observed defendant preparing a drink in the kitchen, taking a Ziploc bag out, and emptying contents into the drink,” per the affidavit. They also reviewed photographs provided by the wife showing several drinks containing “an unknown substance.”
Mason was arrested at the airport in May after returning from a trip to Las Vegas, according to the ABC affiliate, but released on $30,000 bond, according to CBS News. He faces 2-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines if convicted.
“It’s manipulative, It’s premeditated,” Harris County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Osso told KTRK-TV. “What we are alleging Mr. Herring did — which we believe the evidence supports — is a pretty heinous act. To do that to someone who trusts you, it’s taking advantage of that trust.”
Mason’s attorney, Dan Cogdell, said his client looks forward to his day in court, according to KTRK-TV.
The baby is reported to be in good health, despite being slightly premature.
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