The Slatest

Former Cleveland Judge Hired by the City After Violently Beating His Wife Is Now Accused of Her Murder

A picture of the Ohio statehouse
The Ohio Statehouse, where Mason served as a state representative and state senator.
Ty Wright/Getty Images

A former judge in Cleveland who had been hired for a job at City Hall after serving just nine months for punching his wife 20 times in front of their children was arrested Saturday and accused of stabbing her to death.

Lance Mason, Cleveland’s minority business administrator, was arrested after police responded to a domestic violence call and found his estranged wife, 45-year-old teacher Aisha Fraser Mason, dead on her driveway, according to WKYC, a Cleveland NBC affiliate. Lance Mason reportedly tried to kill himself after her death, before fleeing from the scene and ramming his car into a police cruiser, injuring himself and a police officer. He was fired from his city job after the arrest.

In 2014, Mason was arrested after getting into an argument with Fraser while driving home from a funeral. He punched her repeatedly in the head, bit her face, and slammed her head against the dashboard and window, according to Cleveland.com. She tried to escape the car but fell to the ground, where Mason beat her more, then got back into the car and drove off, leaving her to flag down a passing car to ask for a ride to the hospital.

The assault left her with a broken orbital bone and injuries that required facial reconstruction surgery. Their two daughters, 6 and 4, were inside the car for the duration of the assault. When Fraser called 911 dispatchers, she told them she was afraid that Mason would hurt their daughters, according to Cleveland.com.

Cleveland police who arrived at their home confiscated smoke grenades, semi-automatic rifles, a sword, a bulletproof vest, and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition. A member of Mason’s family had called Cleveland police to warn of her fear he would kill himself using the weapons in his home.

Mason pleaded guilty to the assault in 2015. The court found him to be genuinely remorseful, Cleveland 19 News reported. “I think this would be an example of sometimes how good people make bad decisions or do bad things,” the prosecutor said at the sentencing. He was sentenced to two years in prison but served only nine months.

Fraser filed for divorce after the assault but it was not finalized at the time of her death. According to WKYC, she had taught sixth grade at a local elementary school for two decades.

Before his arrest for an assault in 2014, Mason had also served as a state representative and state senator. He had served as a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge until he was removed from the position a month after the assault.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson hired Mason in 2017 for the job of city director of minority business administrator. According to Cleveland.com, he was one of 13 candidates for the job and was handpicked by Jackson, who was up for, and who won, re-election.