Dowagiac man gets probation for assaulting family members, police officers

Published 5:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man who assaulted family members and police last year was sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court and will get the chance to turn his life around on probation. 

Mathew James Lawson, 31, of Klumbis Road in Dowagiac, pleaded no contest to resisting and obstructing police causing injury and was sentenced to two years probation, 365 days in jail with credit for 84 days served and $2,268 in fines and costs. He can serve the remainder of his jail term on tether. 

He also pleaded no contest to domestic violence and was sentenced to credit for 84 days served and $350 in fines and costs. 

The incident occurred Dec. 2 at Lawson’s home in Pokagon Township near Dowagiac. Lawson assaulted his father and aunt and then assaulted police after they arrived on the scene. He claimed to have a bomb and threatened to shoot people.  

Cass County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mary Foster said Lawson has a history of making poor choices and having mental health and substance abuse issues. “This was not the first time police were called to the home,” she said. “The defendant is in need of some serious services if he’s not going to jail.” 

Defense attorney Robert Drake said Lawson began to self medicate to deal with his mental health issues. He noted that Lawson’s father and aunt asked for Lawson to be able to get the help he needs. For his part, Lawson said he has a job now and is in drug counseling. 

“I’m impressed with the services you’re getting and that you’re complying,” Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “It’s very important that you continue to cooperate so you can avoid having your probation revoked.”