Aisha M. Fraser found dead at home
On Saturday, Shaker Heights police in Ohio arrested a former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge in connection with the death of his ex-wife at her home on Saturday. Authorities said Lance Mason was taken into custody after police responded to the 17000 block of Chagrin Boulevard for a domestic violence call on Saturday morning. The woman was identified as Aisha M. Fraser, a sixth-grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Fled the scene
While standing outside the driver's door of his cruiser, a police officer responding to a domestic abuse call was hit by Mason driving his Audi SUV. The officer suffered serious injuries to his lower legs and ribs, according to court documents. The officer was hospitalized.
Both the SUV and the cruiser sustained disabling damage.
After the crash, Mason exited the vehicle and fled on foot into a nearby home on Chagrin Boulevard. Police arrested Mason at that home.
Mason has been charged with felonious assault of the officer.
Attacked while daughters nearby
A family member said Mason attacked Fraser while she was dropping off their daughters, and that the daughters were nearby at the time of their mother's death. "When she pulled in to drop the kids off as agreed, as she was taking the children out of the car, he attacked her," Aisha's uncle, George Fraser, said. "Traumatizing them for the rest of their lives."
A chilling 911 call
On Saturday, Lynn Mason, Lance's sister, called Shaker Heights police saying that her brother was attacking his ex-wife. She said she thought weapons might be involved and told dispatch she was inside with his daughters. "He stabbed her, and she is dead," Lynn Mason told dispatch. Throughout the calls, Mason and Fraser's children can be heard sobbing.
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.
As part of his judicial release from prison after the 2014 beating, Mason had probation requirements in place.
Because he was a former Cuyahoga County judge, to avoid any potential conflict of interest, Lorain County Adult Probation conducted "courtesy supervision" in Mason's case for Cuyahoga County, according to a court administrator.
In June of 2016, Mason's case was assigned to a deputy chief probation officer who supervised him.
The administrator said Mason did not violate his probation at any point and reported to every assigned office visit monthly, and later bimonthly, due to compliance. He was also tested negative for drug use each visit.
In addition, he completed his anger management course, the administrator said.
His last probation visit was Nov. 5, and before his ex-wife's death, the conditions and restrictions — including a no-contact order — were still in place.
Mason was required to complete probation through 2021.
Mayor defends hiring
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 defended the hiring on Monday.
At a city council meeting on Monday night, some council members said they want the city's "second chances" program re-examined, a move the mayor said he would not welcome.
A community mourns
Shaker Heights canceled all professional learning scheduled for Monday and Tuesday to give the community a chance to grieve the death of Fraser, a teacher in the school system. A vigil was held in Fraser's honor on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Woodbury Elementary School. The Shaker Heights Teachers' Association also has a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Fraser's two children.
Hundreds gathered at vigil for slain Shaker Heights teacher Aisha Fraser. pic.twitter.com/sTVPFlhUCy— Homa Bash (@HomaBashWEWS) November 19, 2018
VIDEO: Shaker Heights community in mourning over tragic loss of teacher Aisha Fraser. Hundreds gather at vigil @WEWS pic.twitter.com/ZQzlfHIoqM— Homa Bash (@HomaBashWEWS) November 19, 2018
The feeling at the vigil was one of grief and shock, according to our reporters in attendance.
Remembered by friends
Those who knew Fraser well said she was putting her life back together again following her divorce from Mason.
What we don't know
No criminal charges relating to Fraser's death have been filed yet, but Shaker police do say that charges are forthcoming.