BREAKING NEWS Gov. Holcomb: Indiana to move to stage five of 'Back on Track' plan Full Story

Ex-judge arrested after wife fatally stabbed

Lance Mason spent time in prison for attacking his wife Aisha Fraser years ago. Now he's a suspect in her death. Mason has not been charged with crimes directly stemming from Fraser's death. He is being held in an Ohio jail on one charge of felonious assault. Police say Mason rammed his car into a police vehicle, injuring an officer.

Posted: Nov 23, 2018 2:05 AM
Updated: Nov 23, 2018 2:17 AM

Lance Mason wrote a letter of apology to his ex-wife, Aisha Fraser, in April 2016 from an Ohio prison.

He was serving time for domestic violence and felonious assault for hitting Fraser and smashing her face into a car dashboard while their two daughters were in the back seat.

Mason, a former trial court judge, offered contrition for the "harm and pain" he caused their family. He pointed out all he had done to try to make amends, including counseling, prayer and accepting the court's punishment "without complaint."

"You entrusted me with your safety and the safety of our daughters. I violated that trust, and I'm sorry," he wrote in the letter. "My violence against you was the greater betrayal."

Mason left prison two months later after serving nine months. Now, less than three years later, Mason is back in custody as a suspect in Fraser's death and a northeastern Ohio town is mourning the loss of a beloved elementary school teacher.

Mason's lawyer in the domestic violence case has not returned calls or emails requesting comment. If Mason has a new lawyer, CNN has been unable to identify who it is or how to reach that person.

'There's blood everywhere'

Police say Fraser was fatally stabbed in the driveway of a Shaker Heights home on Saturday morning. Fraser was dropping off the children at Mason's home, her uncle, George Fraser, told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV.

Mason has not been charged with crimes directly stemming from Fraser's death. He is being held in an Ohio jail on one charge of felonious assault. Police say Mason rammed his car into a police vehicle, injuring an officer.

The Shaker Heights officer was responding to a 911 call to Mason's home reporting that Mason had stabbed Fraser.

In audio of the call, a woman who identifies herself as Mason's sister tells a 911 operator that her brother was "attacking" Fraser.

"We're going to need an ambulance," Lynn Mason is heard saying in the audio released by Shaker Heights Police.

From inside the home, where she was with the couple's children, Lynn Mason said she could hear Fraser screaming. When she went outside, she encountered a grim scene.

"He stabbed her. He said she's dead," Lynn Mason says on the recording, as a child screams and cries in the background.

"He walked in. There's blood everywhere."

An officer was sent to the scene and parked across the street from the home. An affidavit says Mason accelerated his vehicle into the officer's vehicle "while fleeing the scene of a homicide in which he was the suspect." As a result of an initial investigation, Mason was taken into custody, police said.

Shaker Heights Police and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said Mason has no scheduled court appearance at this time.

The domestic violence incident in 2014

Mason was a sitting judge on Cuyahoga County's Court of Common Pleas when he was charged with eight counts in August 2014, including felonious assault, domestic violence, kidnapping and endangering children.

He had been on the bench since 2008, according to his personnel file. He was indefinitely suspended from practicing law in 2017.

Before then, he served as an Ohio state senator from January 2007 to September 2008, and previously was a state representative, where he served as ranking minority member of the House Criminal Justice Committee for five years. He was also an assistant county prosecutor for three years in the 1990s.

Fraser moved out of the family's home after the couple separated in March 2014, according to documents from Mason's state bar disciplinary hearing. They shared custody of the children and use of a car, and saw each other regularly at church and on dates.

Court documents provide the following account for the events of August 2, 2014:

The two were driving back to Fraser's apartment from a funeral for Mason's aunt when they began fighting.

Mason became upset and struck Fraser repeatedly in the head and hit her head against the passenger door window, the armrest and the dashboard. He also bit her on the face.

Their children were in the back seat, and the youngest daughter screamed. When Fraser tried to flee the vehicle Mason held her back by her hair. When she succeeded in exiting she fell to the ground, and Mason ran out of the car and continued striking her. He left her there and returned to his home with the children and placed a call to his sister, saying he intended to shoot himself.

Fraser was hospitalized for severe injuries to her face, head and neck, including a fracture under her left eye that required a surgical implant, the court documents say.

Mason pleaded guilty in 2015 to felonious assault and domestic violence in a deal with prosecutors, who dropped the rest of the charges in exchange for 24 months in prison and six months in county jail.

In June 2016, Mason's lawyer requested a motion for a judicial release that would set Mason free before his 24-month prison sentence was up. He included Mason's April 2016 letter to his wife, plus another one to his daughters.

"The defendant acknowledges that he can't undo the harm that he caused his family, albeit, growth and insight should be important factors when considering whether the defendant should be granted an early release," lawyer Fernando Mack wrote in the motion.

The court granted his motion and Mason was released on probation in June 2016, according to court documents. He was ordered to have no contact with Fraser.

In August 2017, the city of Cleveland hired Mason as a minority business development administrator, according to his personnel records. The city was aware of his criminal record and approved the hire with a pay rate of $45,000.

Mason's employment with the city has been terminated, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said Saturday.

Now, Fraser's death is raising questions about whether her ex-husband should have been released early. It has also drawn one of his past allies into the spotlight. Ohio US Rep. Marcia Fudge, a longtime friend and colleague of Mason's, wrote a letter of support for him before he went to prison.

"My support of Lance in 2015 was based on the person I knew for almost 30 years. The person who committed these crimes is not the Lance Mason familiar to me. They were horrific crimes, and I condemn them," she said in a statement on Tuesday.

"My heart breaks for Aisha Fraser. I pray for Aisha's family, especially her children, as they attempt to deal with this tragedy."

She was loved by many

Fraser's death shocked the Shaker Heights community, where she was known as a loving and devoted sixth-grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School. All schools in the district closed Monday and Tuesday and grief counseling was offered. A vigil was held Monday.

"We are in deep mourning. Aisha exemplified the best of Shaker Heights teachers: smart, amazingly caring of her students and her colleagues, active in her profession and in our association. She is loved by many," the Shaker Heights Teachers' Association said in a statement.

Fraser's uncle told CNN affiliate WJW his niece provided people with hope.

"As an elementary school teacher she just had a special gift in connecting with young people and teaching them," he said.

"She was pure love."

West Lafayette
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 74°
Kokomo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 75°
Fowler
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 75°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Frankfort
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 76°
Delphi
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Monticello
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 73°
Logansport
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 73°
Mainly Dry and Warmer Rest of the Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112626

Reported Deaths: 3520
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20832759
Lake10292318
Elkhart6415109
St. Joseph6156102
Allen6029200
Hamilton4724109
Vanderburgh344530
Hendricks2673122
Monroe247436
Tippecanoe226913
Johnson2268123
Clark215056
Porter207845
Cass19329
Delaware188261
Vigo178123
Madison159575
LaPorte137739
Floyd131461
Howard128563
Kosciusko120217
Warrick119936
Bartholomew115357
Marshall98924
Dubois95418
Boone95146
Hancock91143
Grant89133
Noble89132
Henry77024
Wayne74414
Jackson7409
Morgan70038
Shelby66529
Daviess64427
Dearborn63228
LaGrange63111
Clinton59212
Harrison56024
Putnam53710
Lawrence50528
Montgomery50521
Knox5019
Gibson4854
White48114
DeKalb45611
Decatur45439
Miami4263
Fayette41813
Greene41835
Jasper3862
Steuben3707
Scott35610
Sullivan33012
Jennings31212
Posey3060
Franklin29925
Clay2935
Orange28524
Ripley2838
Carroll27013
Wabash2618
Washington2611
Starke2537
Whitley2526
Wells2482
Adams2453
Jefferson2443
Fulton2342
Huntington2223
Tipton21722
Spencer2153
Perry21413
Randolph2087
Jay1730
Newton17111
Owen1651
Martin1640
Rush1524
Pike1401
Vermillion1260
Fountain1182
Pulaski1151
Blackford1133
Crawford1030
Brown1023
Parke941
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland700
Warren391
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events