A former Cleveland-area judge who spent nine months in prison for beating his wife at the time is now a suspect in her stabbing death over the weekend and is likely to be charged, authorities said Monday.
Police said in court documents the ex-judge who also served in the state legislature was fleeing the scene of a homicide in which he was the suspect when he slammed his SUV into a patrol cruiser.
Lance Mason was charged Monday with felonious assault in the crash, but he has not been charged in his former wife’s death.
Police in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb, said Monday that additional charges will be brought against Mason in connection with the death of his former wife.
Mason was taken into custody after officers found Aisha Fraser dead on Saturday, according to police in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb. Messages seeking comment were left with an attorney who has represented Mason in the past.
In a 911 call, Mason’s sister described how he was covered in blood and pacing inside his home. “He stabbed her and he said she’s dead,” Lynn Mason told a dispatcher.
Both Mason and a police officer responding to a reported domestic dispute were injured when Mason’s SUV hit the cruiser near the scene of the fatal stabbing, police said.
Mason ran from the crash, but was taken into custody, police told Cleveland.com. He was being held without bond.
The Ohio Supreme Court last year indefinitely suspended Mason’s law license after he was sentenced to prison for assaulting Fraser inside a car while their two young daughters sat in the back seat.
Authorities say the couple was separated at the time in 2014 and that Mason repeatedly struck and bit his wife. He pleaded guilty to felonious assault and domestic violence.
Mason was a judge at the time of his arrest and had been on the bench six years. Before that, he was elected to both the Ohio House and Senate.
Mason was hired last year by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to work in the city’s minority business development office.
Jackson said he fired Mason after he was taken into custody Saturday. The mayor on Monday defended his decision to hire Mason despite his past problems.
Officials said Fraser worked in Shaker Heights Schools for 16 years and most recently taught at Woodbury Elementary School.
Shaker Heights Superintendent Stephen Wilkins said in a statement that Fraser was a devoted mother and a committed teacher.
Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed.