Former judge in custody in connection with the death of his ex-wife
SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH (WEWS) — Shaker Heights police have arrested a former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge in connection with the death of his ex-wife at her home on Saturday.
Police have not announced any formal charges at this time.
Authorities say Lance Mason was taken into custody after police responded to the 17000 block of Chagrin Boulevard for a domestic violence call on Saturday morning.
Mason fled the scene but crashed into one of the responding officers. The officer was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The officer sustained nonlife-threatening injuries.
The woman has been identified as Aisha Fraser, a sixth-grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School in Shaker Heights.
According to court documents, Mason was suspended from practicing law after he attacked his wife in front of their children as they were driving back from a family member’s funeral on Aug. 2, 2014.
During the drive back, Mason became upset and struck Fraser repeatedly in the head and bit her on the face. When Fraser tried to get out of the car, Mason grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back in, court documents said.
While stopped at a red light, Fraser jumped out of the vehicle but fell to the ground. Court documents say Mason put the car in park and left their children in the vehicle. Mason continued to attack her but eventually left Fraser bleeding on the ground while he drove away with the children, court documents said.
Mason’s attack on Fraser left her with an orbital fracture under her left eye. Mason was arrested later the same day, court records said.
Fraser filed for divorce two days after the attack. Their divorce was finalized on Nov. 12, 2015.
On Aug. 26, 2014, Mason was indicted on multiple charges, including felonious assault, domestic violence, kidnapping and endangering children, according to court records.
The same day the Ohio Supreme Court issued an order disqualifying him from serving as a judge.
On Sept. 1, 2015, the Board of Professional Conduct gave notice to the Ohio Supreme Court, which in turn, issued an interim felony suspension of Mason’s law license, court records show.
Mason was sentenced on Sept. 26, 2015, to two years at the Lorain Correctional Institution and six months in county jail, but he was given judicial release after having served nine months, court documents said.
Mason’s ex-wife was awarded $150,000 in a civil lawsuit she filed against him, according to court records.
On June 9, 2017, the Board of Professional Conduct recommended that Mason be permanently disbarred. On Dec. 28, 2017, the Ohio State Bar Association suspended his law license indefinitely, court records show.
In November 2017, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson hired Mason as the city’s Minority Business Development Administrator. Mason was fired from his city job on Saturday evening following his arrest.
The mayor’s office released the following statement:
The City of Cleveland is aware of the arrest of Lance Mason, Minority Business Development Administrator, on felony charges in the city of Shaker Heights, Ohio.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Aisha Fraser, especially to her children,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
Mr. Mason has been terminated effective immediately. The City of Cleveland will cooperate fully with the City of Shaker Heights in this investigation.
Mason served as an Ohio state Senator from 2007 to 2008 and has also served as an assistant county prosecutor.
The Shaker Heights Teacher’s Association has started a GoFundMe to help Fraser’s family with funeral and living expenses as she leaves behind her two daughters. The SHTA is planning a candlelight vigil for Fraser on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Woodbury Elementary School.