A Houston lawyer faces felony charges for allegedly slipping abortion-inducing drugs into his separated wife’s drinks after learning about her third pregnancy — which he told her “would ruin his plans and make him look like a jerk.”
Mason Herring, 38, has been indicted by a Harris County grand jury on two felony counts, including assault of a pregnant person, KTRK reported.
The lawyer, founder and managing partner of the Herring Law Firm, also was slapped with a count of “assault – forced induced to have an abortion,” according to court records.
He and his wife, Catherine Herring, separated earlier this year but had been working on their marriage and were attending counseling when she told him she was pregnant with their third child.
“My understanding is that it wasn’t well-received by (Herring),” Assistant District Attorney Anthony Osso told the news outlet. “That came out through marriage counseling, as well as through text messages later on.”
Herring, who was romantically involved with a co-worker by then, told her the pregnancy “would ruin his plans and make him look like a jerk,” according to an affidavit cited by Law and Crime.
At the counselor’s suggestion, the couple spent spring break with their children in West Texas, where Catherine said he “began talking to her about her hydration” and said she needed to drink more.
On March 17, Mason stopped by the house to bring Catherine breakfast and asked if he could bring her some water in bed, Osso said.
“He says, ‘If you don’t do so, I’m not leaving.’ She thought it was odd. She thought the water was cloudy. She questioned him a little bit, but, nonetheless, did drink the water, and then he leaves and takes that cup,” he told KTRK.
Mason allegedly told her the discoloration was the result of the cup or water pipes being dirty.
Catherine then became severely ill, experiencing cramps and severe bleeding, and ended up in a hospital, according to Osso, who said doctors could not figure out what was wrong.
But she became suspicious and began refusing his other drinks, including three that had “an unknown substance” and a bottle of orange juice with a broken seal, the Washington Post reported.
Catherine set up a camera in the home, where Mason was no longer living.
On April 20, she invited two people over as “witnesses” to Mason’s visit, during which he allegedly tried to give her a drink even though she already had two beverages.
Catherine told investigators that she and her guests saw “an unknown substance” floating in the drink he gave her.
The following day, she also noticed a substance in a drink he brought from a fast-food joint, according to the affidavit.
“(On April 24), she checks the garbage cans and finds in the garbage can a pharmaceutical called Cyrux, which contains Misoprostol, which is a drug used to induce abortions,” Osso told KTRK.
Two days later, surveillance video captured Mason putting a powdered substance into a glass as he prepared another drink, he said.
Catherine contacted police, who arrested Mason on a warrant at the airport after he arrived from Las Vegas. He was charged with assaulting a pregnant person and assault-force induction to have an abortion.
The second charge came into play after abortions were outlawed in the Lone Star State. It carries a sentence of two to 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000.
At least two of six water samples Catherine saved were shown to include Misoprostol, according to Osso.
“It’s manipulative. It’s premeditated. What we are alleging Mr. Herring did, which we believe the evidence supports, is a pretty heinous act,” he told the station.
“To do that to someone who trusts you, it’s taking advantage of that trust,” Osso added.
Mason’s attorney Dan Cogdell told KTRK in a statement: “We are aware that the Grand Jury has returned these charges. That said, we very much look forward to our day in court and are thoroughly convinced that we will prevail in a Court of law when our time comes to defend these allegations.”
Mason was released on $30,000 bond and is due back in court on Dec. 2.