Former Ohio judge indicted in fatal stabbing of ex-wife
An Ohio grand jury has indicted a former trial court judge accused of fatally stabbing his ex-wife on aggravated murder and murder charges, according to prosecutors.
Lance Mason, 51, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, was also indicted November 29 on charges of felonious assault, violating a protection order and grand theft stemming from the November 17 fatal stabbing of 45-year-old Aisha Fraser, a sixth-grade schoolteacher, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
Mason entered a not-guilty plea during his arraignment Tuesday in a Cuyahoga County courtroom. He is being held on the $5 million bond in the Cuyahoga County jail.
The attorney who had represented Mason in the case could not be reached on Monday. Mason is now represented by two court-appointed attorneys. Neither could be reached on Tuesday.
Mason, who served prison time for attacking Fraser four years ago, now faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on the new charges.
Authorities say Mason confronted Fraser as she arrived at a Shaker Heights home with the couple’s 8-year-old and 11-year-old children, fatally stabbing her. Fraser was dropping the children off at Mason’s home, her uncle, George Fraser, told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV.
Mason stole Fraser’s vehicle after the fatal stabbing and drove his car into a Shaker Heights officer’s vehicle, injuring the officer, prosecutors said. The officer was setting up a crime scene perimeter after a 911 call from a woman identifying herself as Mason’s sister, who was with the couple’s children in the home, authorities said.
Mason ran back to the Shaker Heights residence, where police apprehended him, prosecutors said.
Mason faces a charge of felonious assault for the injuries to the officer, according to the indictment.
“Aisha Fraser was viciously and cruelly taken from her children by Lance Mason’s cowardly and selfish act,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said last week in a news release. “He stole a loving mother from her children and took an exceptional teacher, neighbor and role model from the Shaker Heights community. He will be held accountable for his barbaric act.”
Fraser and Mason, then a sitting judge on Cuyahoga County’s Court of Common Pleas, had separated months before he hit her, smashing her face into a car dashboard while their two daughters were in the back seat in August 2014, according to documents from Mason’s state bar disciplinary hearing.
Ohio US Rep. Marcia Fudge, a longtime friend and colleague of Mason’s, wrote a letter in support of him before he went to prison.
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.
Mason served nine months, and was released on probation in June 2016, according to court documents.
He was terminated last month from his job as a minority business development administrator with the city of Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson said then.
A memorial service for Fraser will be held on Saturday at Olivet Baptist Church in Cleveland, according to WEWS-TV.