A former Cuyahoga County judge, Lance Mason, who was removed from the bench after he beat his wife four years ago, was arrested over the weekend in connection with her fatal stabbing.
Mason, 51, a former high-ranking state lawmaker and a Democrat, had pleaded guilty to the previous assault but landed on his feet after serving only nine months in prison. He was employed at the time of Saturday’s incident as director of minority business development for the city of Cleveland.
The body of his former wife, Aisha Fraser, was found Saturday in the driveway of her Shaker Heights home, where Mason was allegedly waiting for her. After he allegedly stabbed her to death, sources told WKYC that Mason got in his wife’s 2015 Audi SUV and rammed the vehicle into a police cruiser while attempting to flee the scene. The crash caused one of the responding officers to suffer serious injuries to his lower legs.
Mason exited his car and fled on foot, only to be arrested a short time later. Whle Mason has thus far not been charged with his ex-wife’s murder, he has been charged with felony assault, according to a report Monday by WKYC.
Fraser’s boyfriend told WKYC that she owned the home and rented it out to Mason’s sister. Fraser was reportedly dropping off the couple’s children when Masson allegedly killed her, according to the report.
The wounds to her face were so severe she needed reconstructive surgery.
According to court documents, Fraser sued her then-husband in civil court, and was awarded a $150,000 judgment.
Mason, who was also a former state representative and state senator elected as a Democrat, was removed from his judge seat roughly a month after the August 2014 incident, WKYZ reports. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from ever serving as a judge in Ohio. The Ohio Supreme Court also barred him from practicing law in the state.
Hired by Cleveland mayor
But that didn’t stop Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson from hiring the embattled felon.
The city released a statement Saturday evening saying it was “aware of the arrest” and announced Mason was terminated “effective immediately.”
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Aisha Fraser, especially to her children,” Jackson wrote.
The Shaker Heights Police Department later released a statement on the incident, saying it “responded to a 911 call from a residence on Chagrin Boulevard.”
“In conjunction with our response, we initiated an investigation into the death of Aisha Fraser. Also as a result of our initial investigation, Lance Mason was taken into custody,” the statement continued. “The investigation is ongoing. Additional information will be provided as the investigation proceeds.”
Fraser was the niece of well-known motivational speaker George C. Fraser, who in a statement to WKYC called her “a young lady who was loved, gracious, and a community servant.”
Fraser was also a sixth grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School in Shaker Heights, and her two daughters with Mason both attend the school system. The local teachers’ association set up a GoFundMe page in her honor, and interim Superintendent Stephen M. Wilkins called the loss of Fraser “tragic.”
“She touched so many of our children’s lives and will be deeply missed,” Wilkins said in a statement. “Her loss is unexpected and the impact of this news on our entire school community is unimaginable and profound.”
– – –
Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.