Mason ruled sane at time of shooting mom

Cary Ashby • Feb 5, 2013 at 9:07 AM

A psychologist has determined a Willard teenager wasn't insane at the time he is accused of shooting his mother in the back.

Michael E. Mason, 17, of 23 N. Main St., is being tried as an adult on attempted murder in connection with the May 30 incident. The first-degree felony comes with a gun specification, which would add another three years to a sentence of three to 11 years in prison.

In December, Mason pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway received the report from a clinical psychologist at the District 5 Forensic and Diagnostic Center in Mansfield on Jan. 17.

"I'm not saying I agree with it," Huron County Public Defender David Longo told the judge Monday.

Longo said the current report says essentially the same thing as two other evaluations, all of which were consistent with each other. The public defender also said he doesn't plan on filing further motions related to Mason possibly being insane.

However, Longo earlier told the Reflector he suspects "there are some mental issues there," but he declined to elaborate. After Monday's hearing, he said the psychologist determined Mason didn't have a mental disorder at the time of the shooting.

Two prior evaluations established Mason can understand court proceedings and is competent to assist in his own defense.

Conway, at Monday's hearing, ruled the court would seal the current report and have it made part of the record.

Mason fled the scene of the May 30 shooting, which caused an extensive manhunt. The search forced Willard City Schools to be on lockdown. Mason eventually was arrested in the 500 block of Pearl Street. He remains incarcerated at the Seneca County Youth Center in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

The boy's mother, Melissa, was taken to Mercy Willard Hospital and later transferred to a Toledo hospital. She was released later.

Mason's mother was in court for a Dec. 20 hearing.

"She wasn't there to support (her son), but to see what would happen," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said afterward. "She's quite upset about what happened."

Leffler, in December, said there's a "reasonable possibility" Mason could be found guilty after reviewing his statement to Willard police officers "moments after it happened."

"There's nothing on that video that indicates an individual (who is) insane or not dealing with reality," Leffler said earlier. "Obviously there's something bizarre going on when you shoot your mother."

Mason's next two pre-trial hearings will take place April 15 and May 7. His trial is scheduled for May 14.

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