SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio– Criminal charges will be brought against former Cuyahoga County Common Please Judge Lance Mason relating to the death of his ex-wife Aisha Fraser, the Shaker Heights Police Department said on Monday.
Mason, 51, was charged Monday morning with felonious assault for injuring an officer while fleeing the crime scene on Saturday. Mason, who remains hospitalized, is being held without bond.
The police department said the charge is the first in this investigation and was filed to meet legal time constraints.
“Our investigation into her death will be conducted in a professional, comprehensive, and thorough manner. We want to assure the family and our community that we are undertaking the most meticulous and expeditious investigation possible,” Shaker Heights police said in a news release.
“While this investigation will take some time, we will provide further updates as additional charges are brought.”
Police were called to a home on Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights Saturday morning. While trying to escape, Mason rammed his SUV into a police cruiser, damaging both vehicles and hurting the officer, according to court documents.
Fraser, 45, was found dead in the driveway. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released her cause of death.
Mason pleaded guilty to domestic violence and attempted felonious assault for a 2014 incident involving Fraser. He reportedly punched and choked her in front of their two children. Mason served less than a year of a two-year prison sentence, was removed from his position as judge and suspended from practicing law by the Ohio Supreme Court.
In 2017, the city of Cleveland hired him as the minority business development administrator in the office of equal opportunity. Fifteen other candidates applied for the $45,000-a-year position. The city insisted Mason was the most qualified person for the job, based on his law degree.
Cleveland’s fair hiring policy went into effect in 2011, removing conviction history from the interview process.
During an interview with FOX 8 on Monday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson stood by his decision to hire Mason, saying he had no way of predicting the future.
Fraser, a sixth grade teacher at Woodbury Elementary School, leaves behind two daughters. Her uncle, George Fraser, described her as “pure love” with a gift of connecting with young people.
“As we struggle through the painful aftermath of this tragedy and grapple with questions about how this could happen to someone admired by so many for her compassion and generosity, I encourage you to connect with one another. The deep reservoir of caring friends and neighbors is the hallmark of this generous and resilient community,” Shaker Heights Mayor David Weiss said.
“There has been an outpouring of support for Aisha’s children, a true testament to our spirit and our limitless commitment to each other in the face of adversity. In this way we will honor Aisha’s life.”
The school is providing grief counselors and a vigil is planned for 5:30 p.m. on Monday.