|Jason Von Mueller AKA Jason Edward Wright|
By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.Com)
On a cold February night in 1998, racing down the streets of Algonac at high speeds, desperately trying to flee the ferociously irate father of the girl he was stalking, and had recently punched, choked, and attacked at knifepoint, Jason Wright lost control, his truck ending up completely submerged in the freezing cold St. Clair River.
In a bizarre twist of fate, the victim's father saved him from drowning, but his life was soon going to change forever...
Police records obtained by West Michigan Politics reveal disturbing details behind a night from hell, and his actions in the days following, that sent the man known to most people in Michigan GOP politics as Jason Von Mueller, to prison for nearly 9 years.
Von Mueller resigned as Chairman of the Wayne 12th District Republican Party last week, just hours after a blockbuster West Michigan Politics investigation uncovered he had changed his name after the horrendous attack and subsequent prison stint, then keeping his new identity secret for nearly 15 years.
In 1998, Melissa knew Jason Von Mueller by another name: Jason Edward Wright. She was his girlfriend.
According to police interview records, on February 3rd, 1998, shortly after midnight, Melissa was with friends when she heard Jason was on his way to assault her friend, Rob Ibe.
Jason wanted to meet with her to resolve issues in their relationship.
In order to stop Rob from being attacked, Melissa reluctantly agreed to meet at Tubby's Sub Shop on Cass.
Melissa felt safe there because it was her place of employment, and there was a Dunkin' Donuts open next door.
As they started talking, Jason was nice and friendly. She told him he had until 12:45 AM.
At some point, she said they argued about her suspicion of him being coked up. He claimed he had stopped using, but she did not believe him.
12:45 came, and she decided to give him until 1.
At 1, she attempted to open the car door. That's when she says all hell broke loose.
Jason then attacked her, grabbing her by the throat, and squeezing her neck.
She tried to reach over and punch him, but was unable. She also tried to kick out the windows at some point, but was unsuccessful.
However, she was able to grab her keys, which were equipped with a small pocket knife on the key ring.
Jason ripped the keys out of her hands before she even had a chance to fight back.
Jason then pulled her down on his lap. She said she kept blacking out because his strangulation was cutting off her circulation.
Jason let her up, and in the midst of her crying, trying to reapply makeup, Jason noticed the choke marks around her neck.
He kept asking her, "are you afraid of me yet?" He then told her his original plan was to drug and kidnap her until she agreed to go out with him, and repeatedly told her he loved her.
Jason then grabbed a knife, which she described as a folding knife, with a 5 inch silver blade, and black rubber grip.
Holding the knife, at one point to her throat, she says Jason told her, "I really don't want to use this. I really don't want to cut you up."
He said he was "going to get what he wanted for a change instead of her having her way."
The victim said she was willing to do anything to stay safe.
Unable to leave, under the threat of a knife, the two had sex for a couple of minutes, until Jason then wanted to drive to a nearby office plaza. Upon arrival, he said he "hadn't got any in a while and wanted some."
She says they then made out for a couple minutes, as Jason kept asking if she loved him. She kept telling him what he wanted to hear.
Jason repeatedly threatened her not to tell anyone, which she was able to convince him she wouldn't. He gave back her keys, and dropped her off at her car.
Melissa then drove off around 2:30 AM and tried to go to school in the morning, but decided not to after looking at her battered face. Jason had hit her hard in the eye during the attack.
She then drove to a friend's house, told them what happened, and they called police.
Upon arrival, officers interviewed the victim, recommending she go to Mt. Clemens Memorial Hospital for examination.
After review, Melissa was discharged for at home recovery.
Melissa told officers that Jason lived at home with his father, Claude Wright, and there's a several guns in the house.
She affirmed that she wanted to pursue charges, and did not want Jason around her anymore at all. She also mentioned she had obtained a Personal Protection Order, and was preparing to have it served.
A couple days later, Melissa received an extremely bizarre call from Claude Wright while she was at work.
Claude claimed Jason had killed himself, the funeral was in a few days, in Kentucky, and Claude didn't want to talk about it any further.
Claude Wright admitted to police that he did indeed make that strange call.
The victim also stated that Jason came to her work in the days after the attack, flipping her off out his window.
He also harassed her friends with multiple phone calls. She also said was happy she was able to come up with the money to have the PPO served.
A few days later, on February 16th, in the wee hours of the night, as most of St. Clair County slept, Jason's obsession with Melissa led him to her house.
Jason was lying in wait for Melissa, she believes likely hiding behind a nearby barn.
Jason went after Melissa, but she was able to lock herself in the car.
The quiet night was suddenly violently interrupted by the piercing sound of Melissa's car horn.
Melissa desperately pushed the horn, like her life depended on it, and maybe it did: police would later discover Jason had duct tape and pepper spray with him that evening.
Someone heard the car horn and sprang into action: Melissa's father.
At this point, Jason ran to his vehicle and attempted to flee the scene.
Melissa's father, obviously done with his daughter being attacked, and now stalked at home, decided he had enough.
Jason and the victim's father then embarked on a high speed chase that ended in Algonac, with Jason crashing his truck into the St. Clair River.
In a bizarre twist of fate, the victim's father saved him from drowning.
Jason was arraigned the next day in St. Clair County, on February 17th, for illegally possessing pepper spray. He would eventually serve 60 days for the offense.
On February 18, 1998, Jason was arrested by Port Clinton Township Police for multiple felony counts of 1st and 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, including using a weapon to procure sexual penetration. He was transferred to the Macomb County Jail.
The case was bound over to Macomb County Circuit Court in April of 1998, and Wright was denied bond because of the possible risk to the community given the serious nature of the violent assault.
The case took another disturbing twist on April 30, when police received a letter from David Andrew Olter, an inmate housed with Jason in Macomb County Jail's Maximum Security Unit.
Olter wasn't your typical jailhouse snitch seeking a quid pro quo. His case, a nearly $1,400 fraud, had already been disposed of with a deal he had no problem with.
Olter was concerned with what Jason, who was bragging about his crimes against Melissa, might do to her if he was released.
Olter told police that Jason offered him $500 to threaten Melissa into not showing up to testify in court.
Jason was impressed at the large size of David's brothers in a picture, and wanted one to show up at Melissa's work. He wanted one to tell her that if she testified against Jason, and her Grandpa would be hurt.
Olter pretended to call his brother to arrange the threat, calling his wife instead. He told police that he insisted Jason pay him $300 up front.
Olter said he was just planning on scamming Jason out of the money.
Jason convinced his father Claude to lend him the money for the threat, but Jason's friend Ryan, who was supposed to help arrange the money drop with Olter's wife, was able to convince Claude it was a dumb idea before they actually gave the $300 to Olter's wife.
Olter was able to give investigators a piece of paper with Melissa's home and work number, vehicle description, school schedule, and other details only Jason could have provided.
Olter also mentioned things Jason had told him about the case.
Jason had been drinking tequila and mystic that night and punched Melissa in the face after she fought back and resisted his attack. He was also on acid. Jason said he attacked her because he was "horny as hell."
Jason was hoping to get released, so his Dad showed up to a bond reduction hearing with $30,000 cash, but the judge rejected the request, ordering him back to Max at the Macomb County Jail, with no bond.
Jason also mentioned details of the February night when he tried to attack Melissa at her home.
Jason parked his truck, and snuck into a field, lying in wait, hiding by a barn.
Jason was able to blindside Melissa, surprising her, but she was able to lock herself in the car, and sound the horn.
Melissa's father then came out and drove after him, the high speed chase ending with Jason driving off a ramp into the St Clair River trying to flee.
Jason, who has pepper spray and duct tape with him, received 60 days for the incident.
Olter said Jason wanted to "smack the shit" out of Melissa, whom he referred to as a "bit*h ass wh*re." Olter said he had never seen someone so obsessed with someone as Jason was with Melissa.
Olter also told police he would testify against Jason.
In May, Wright was ordered to submit to HIV and STD testing.
Wright plead guilty to CSC charges in August of 1998, but withdrew before his October sentencing.
After a series of motions and hearings, Wright finally reverted back to his guilty plea in February 1999, agreeing to a deal to get the Criminal Sexual Conduct charges dismissed, sparing him from mandatory, lifelong registration on the state sex offender registry.
In March of 1999, Wright was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison for the attack, which was disposed of as "assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder."
He was given credit for a little over a year served in the Macomb County jail.
Records obtained by West Michigan Politics show Jason committed multiple infractions during his nearly 9 years in prison, and was not able to successfully pass a parole board.
After his release from prison in 2006, after being locked up for nearly 9 years, Wright officially filed for approval to change his name to Mueller.
Wright's name change was approved in 2007.
Before his resignation, Mueller, 43 held the Wayne 12th Chair position for 3 years, since his election in January 2019. An election violation complaint he filed against the City of Taylor, where he lives, was dismissed by the State of Michigan in 2018.
Von-Mueller issued a statement via Facebook after the WMP article was published last week.
Von-Mueller has a different account of what transpired that night, denying he had sex with the victim at Knifepoint, but admitting to the rest of the attack. He says he's changed.
""Now let me address the allegations. Yes I served 8 years 9 months and 20 days in prison for assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder. I was 19 years old and engaged to my girlfriend. I had discovered she was cheating on me with two of my best friends. I confronted her about it and she denied it. She then admitted it, and laughed in my face about it. I snapped and began to strangle her. I then took her back to her car and we both went our separate ways.
The next day she met up with one of my friends whom she was cheating on me with and they went over to the other guys house and then they called the police. The police took a report about assault (not sex assault) several days later when she spoke to the detectives, is when she started saying I had sexually assaulted her. Yes I was originally charged with I believe 3 counts of criminal sexual conduct. Yes I originally took a plea agreement to one charge off criminal sexual conduct and the rest were to be dropped.
Yes I withdrew that plea and decided to go to trial. I was not going to plead guilty to something I didn’t do. I had a private lie detector test done and that proved I was telling the truth no sexual encounter occurred with her that night. My attorney made the prosecutor aware of this (I believe it was in a phone call) he told her I was willing to plead guilty to something I actually did.
See a real man admits their wrong and accepts responsibility for their actions and that’s what I did. So I was offered a plea that all the criminal sexual conduct charges will be dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.
My sentencing guidelines were 3-10 years to which I served 8 years 9 months and 20 days. I am 100% guilty of what I pled to but I did not rape anyone. When I was released from prison, no one would hire me because of my criminal record. I decided to legally change my name, in the hopes that would help me get a job(which it did).
There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t regret my actions and wish I could take it back. I also struggle to forgive myself for my actions. I also struggle with the shame it brought upon my parents and how it affected my victim. I have asked for and received forgiveness a long time ago from my Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST and he has forgiven me. I don’t honestly think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself. In politics I have always strived to do right, prevent corruption, and ensure good candidate get elected.
Am I perfect? No I’m not. I am not the person I was when I was 19. I’ll add this because of my actions and being incarcerated, I was unable to realize my brother had become a drug addict. My brother died of a heroin overdose in a drug house in Detroit. I also wasn’t able to attend his funeral, due to being locked up and not wanting the shame of showing up in a prison uniform and belly chains. So continue on with your hit piece and attacks. I have the forgiveness of JESUS CHRIST and that’s all that matters."
This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates...
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com