A Texas woman suspected her husband was poisoning her after the breakfast he made her in bed left her bleeding, so she spent weeks collecting evidence that he had slipped abortifacient drugs into her drinks.
Catherine Herring, 39, began to distrust her ex-spouse Mason in February 2022, when he confronted her after nearly a decade of marriage and told her he wanted to separate.
Herring had recently caught him texting a former colleague with whom he swore he had cut off contact, but when she confronted him, he told her he needed to work on himself and moved out.
“He just started acting very strange and wouldn’t tell me what was going on,” Herring told the daily beast.
The couple shared two children and had a third on the way, although Mason had previously expressed displeasure over the pregnancy.
Catherine Herring, 39, spent weeks gathering evidence against her husband, Mason, after becoming suspicious of him when he suddenly asked her to separate.
The mother of three and private investigator John Moritz installed hidden cameras throughout the couple’s home.
The father of three, also 39, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of injury to a child under 15.
The Houston-based attorney agreed to spend spring break with the rest of the family. One morning, he brought Herring a cookie and a glass of water as she lay in bed, imploring her to finish it before he left for the office.
“He started insisting on me, like, ‘Suck it, I have to go,’ and he had this tone of anger in his voice,” Herring explained in an interview with the Daily Beast.
That’s when he looked into the water and saw that it was cloudy.
An indictment describes the events that followed. About 30 minutes after Mason left for work, Herring began experiencing painful stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea.
Realizing that her vagina was Bleeding profusely, the 39-year-old rushed to the hospital. He continued to bleed even after he was discharged.
“I just desperately wanted to be wrong,” he said. ‘I wanted there to be another explanation, because this is your husband whom you love, adore and with whom you have children.
‘But my instinct was, ‘Something’s wrong, I need to protect myself.’ And I just need to make sure he doesn’t know I’m after him. Because I really felt like that was the only way to gather evidence.’
When Herring returned home, Mason continued to provide her with drinks, each of which contained an “unknown substance,” according to court documents.
However, she quickly began to suspect that Mason was poisoning her after he served her a cookie and a glass of water in bed and she began bleeding profusely from her vagina.
While Herring knew her husband was unhappy about the pregnancy, she wasn’t sure why he wanted to separate after nearly a decade together and hired a private investigator.
When Herring returned home, Mason continued to provide him with drinks, each of which contained an “unknown substance.”
Herring meticulously collected samples of the drinks her husband provided. Six were sent to a laboratory for testing and two were found to contain misoprostol, an abortion-inducing agent.
On March 21, Herring visited John Moritz, a private investigator she had hired in hopes of discovering why her husband had suddenly filed for separation.
Herring had meticulously collected samples of the liquid, six of which Moritz sent to a laboratory for analysis.
At least two of the samples were shown to contain misoprostol, which is commonly used to induce abortion.
Moritz proceeded to teach the 39-year-old man evidence collection methods. The duo installed cameras throughout the house and Moritz urged her not to be left alone with Mason if possible.
One day in April, Catherine called two friends because she suspected they had drugged her. Both friends saw material floating in a drink provided by her husband, according to an affidavit.
On April 24, Mason cleaned out his truck and took trash bags to the curb, a habit Herring found unusual.
‘[Catherine Herring] stated that this was out of character for [Mason Herring] since he does not do housework,’ the affidavit alleges.
When Mason left the residence, Herring approached the trash can to see what was inside.
He found “open blister packs” labeled “Cyrux,” according to the affidavit.
Herring learned that these packages contained a “Mexican pharmaceutical version of the American drug Cytotec,” which is used to prevent stomach ulcers but contains misoprostol as an active ingredient.
Days later, hidden cameras recorded Mason emptying a plastic bag full of white powder into a glass of cranberry juice, which he then encouraged Herring to drink.
She had a friend with her at the time. “But she stayed in the kitchen, she had a full conversation with us and then she went away for the night as if nothing had happened,” Herring explained.
The next day, he went to the Houston Police Department.
Herring was surprised to see Mason carrying trash bags to the sidewalk, since he didn’t normally do chores. When he searched them, he found open blister packs containing medications containing misoprostol.
The couple’s youngest daughter was born three months after Mason’s arrest and suffers from developmental delays and still eats through a feeding tube.
Nearly a month passed before Mason’s arrest. He was charged with assault to induce abortion and assault on a pregnant person.
In late 2023, the district attorney’s office called to say they were considering a plea deal with significantly reduced charges.
Herring backed off as much as he could, but the office insisted it was the best they could do.
Mason accepted the deal on February 7 of this year and pleaded guilty only to one count of injury to a child under 15 years of age.
The judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation, a miserable sentence considering the state’s legal attack on abortion.
A 2021 Texas law allows anyone in the state to sue someone they suspect of having had an abortion after six weeks of gestation. Performing an abortion is a serious crime punishable by life in prison.
“It is very evident that the state of Texas is treating men and women differently in this situation,” Herring said.
“One hundred and eighty days; those are less than 26 days per attempt that he will serve in jail.”
Mason was prohibited from contacting her or her youngest daughter, who was born in August, three months after his arrest.
The little girl was born 10 weeks premature and suffers from developmental delays. She eats through a feeding tube and meets with physical, occupational and speech therapists every week.
Catherine appeared at her husband’s trial to protest the lenient sentence.
“I don’t think 180 days is justice for trying to kill your son seven different times,” he said, addressing the court.
“For two years, my husband has openly denied this assault and today I am grateful that he has finally admitted his guilt.”