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Ex-Judge Lance Mason Charged, Accused Of Ramming Officer, Fleeing Homicide Scene

Lance Mason [Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction]

The sister of former Cuyahoga County judge Lance Mason told a police dispatcher on Saturday that he had stabbed his estranged wife, Aisha Fraser, according to a 911 call released Monday afternoon.

Mason’s sister told the dispatcher that he then walked into the house on Chagrin Boulevard and said that Fraser was dead. His sister also said that the couple’s two daughters were in the house with her at the time.

Shaker Heights police have charged Mason with felonious assault, accusing him of ramming a police cruiser with his SUV while fleeing the scene of the homicide.

“Today’s charge is the first of this investigation, and was brought in order to meet certain legal time constraints,” a statement from the Shaker Heights police department reads. “Additional criminal charges will be brought against Lance Mason relating to the death of Aisha Fraser.”

Patrol Officer Adam Flynt received “serious injuries to the lower extremities and ribs” and was hospitalized, according to a police affidavit.

Flynt was reaching into the cruiser’s open driver-side door to retrieve equipment and had placed his knee on the driver’s seat when Mason rammed the cruiser, the affidavit says. Flynt was hospitalized, according to the document.

Shaker Heights police said in a Facebook post that Flynt was doing well and is expected to be released. 

After the crash, Mason left his car and fled on foot before his arrest, according to the affidavit.

Court documents signed yesterday evening by Judge K.J. Montgomery state that Mason remained hospitalized and will be held without bail once he is arraigned.

She was a longtime teacher in the Shaker Heights schools. A vigil in her memory took place Monday night outside the school where she taught.

“We are in deep mourning,” the Shaker Heights Teachers Association said in a statement on Facebook. “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.”

In 2014, prosecutors charged Mason with felonious assault, kidnapping, endangering children and domestic violence for physically assaulting his wife.

He pleaded guilty to domestic violence and attempted felonious assault. Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced him to 24 months in prison, granting him early release nine months later.

Cosgrove placed Mason on probation for five years and ordered him to have no contact with Fraser. She also ordered him to complete anger management classes. The Ohio Supreme Court suspended his law license indefinitely in December 2017. 

The city of Cleveland hired Mason in August 2017 as a minority business development administrator. The city fired Mason after his arrest this weekend.

In 2017, Mayor Frank Jackson’s reelection campaign released a statement saying the mayor was not part of the hiring process. But the campaign said the mayor stood by the choice to hire Mason.

“No one condones Mr. Mason’s crime. But he pled guilty, lost his law license and position as judge, and he served his time. Our community benefits if ex-offenders can find work and turn their lives around,” the 2017 statement from Michael Bowen, Jackson’s campaign manager, read.

In interviews Monday with local TV stations WJW, WOIO and WEWS, Jackson defended the city’s hiring of Mason, saying the slaying of Fraser could not have been predicted.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.