When Homeschoolers Turn Violent: Michael Mason

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Series note: “When Homeschoolers Turn Violent” is a joint research project by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Please see the Introduction for detailed information about the purpose and scope of the project.

Trigger warning: If you experience triggers from descriptions of physical and sexual violence, please know that the details in many of the cases are disturbing and graphic.

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Michael Mason

In June 2012, Michael Mason — a 16-year-old boy from Willard, Ohio — shot his mother in the back and left her for dead.

In June 2012, Michael Mason — a 16-year-old boy from Willard, Ohio — shot his mother in the back and left her for dead.
In June 2012, Michael Mason — a 16-year-old boy from Willard, Ohio — shot his mother in the back and left her for dead.

Michael shot his mom Melissa around 11:30 am one morning. He then fled his home and ran to a friend’s house. Melissa was fortunately able to call 911. Michael was arrested 1 1/2 hours later after a flurry of law enforcement officers descended upon the home.

Michael had a tough family life and a history of acting out. A public defender, David Longo, also said that “Mason has some psychiatric issues that haven’t been properly handled.” On a previous occasion Michael stole a car and drove the vehicle from Ohio to Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also had trouble in public schools, which ultimately resulted in him being removed from the Willard City School system to be homeschooled by his mother. Peers described him as “always kind of quiet” and someone who “wrote poems to girls”; they did not expect to “see the violence in him.”

Melissa was rushed by a medical helicopter to a nearby hospital. She survived and was in good condition by the night after the attack.

Michael was charged with attempted murder. He originally pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity,” but a clinical psychologist determined he was not insane at the time of the attempted murder. In May of 2013, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 5 years of probation after his prison sentence.

View the case index here.