SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Ohio police officials have released the chilling 911 call made by the sister of a disgraced former Cuyahoga County judge Saturday, in which she reported her brother stabbed his ex-wife to death in his driveway.
Lance Mason, 51, of Shaker Heights, was removed from the bench in 2014 after he viciously beat his then-estranged wife, elementary schoolteacher Aisha Fraser, in front of the couple’s two children.
As of Tuesday morning, Mason had been charged with felonious assault on suspicion of striking a police officer with his vehicle as he tried to flee the scene. Charges had not been filed in Fraser’s death.
The former state legislator and common pleas court judge, who allegedly tried to kill himself after the fatal stabbing, remains in the hospital. He is being held without bond.
The audio released by Shaker Heights authorities begins with Mason's distraught sister, Lynn Mason, telling her nieces to "come here."
The 911 dispatcher asks about her emergency.
“I need the police immediately,” Lynn Mason says. “My brother is attacking his ex-wife.”
She gives the dispatcher her brother’s address on Chagrin Boulevard before tearfully telling her they will also need an ambulance.
The dispatcher asks if both Lance Mason and Fraser are still there.
“They’re outside. I… I… I don’t know. I heard her screaming,” Lynn Mason says.
“OK, are there any guns or knives involved?” the dispatcher asks.
“I don’t know. I think there might be,” Lynn Mason says. “Please hurry.”
Listen to Lynn Mason’s 911 call below, courtesy of WKYC in Cleveland. Warning: The call may be too disturbing for some listeners.
The dispatcher asks the caller to stay on the phone and relay to her what is happening. Lynn Mason says she can’t tell what is going on because she is inside the house with the couple’s children.
“I’m inside with the daughter. I don’t want her to see anything,” she says.
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The dispatcher tells her to keep the girl inside and try to stay calm so the girl doesn’t get upset.
“I’m going to get my guys started out that way, OK, so just stay on the phone with me,” the dispatcher says.
After a few moments, Lynn Mason can be heard telling her niece to stay where she is while she goes and checks outside to see what’s going on. The dispatcher can be heard relaying information to responding officers while Mason’s sister checks on Fraser and her brother.
“Ma’am? Ma’am,” Lynn Mason says upon her return.
“Yes ma’am?” the dispatcher says.
“He stabbed her and he said she’s dead,” Lynn Mason says.
“Oh my gosh,” the dispatcher responds.
The dispatcher relays information of a “possible stabbing and DOA” to responding Shaker Heights police officers.
There are several moments in which the dispatcher and officers talk back and forth about the logistics of the police response. After a while, Lance Mason is heard coming back into the house.
The dispatcher gets a description of his clothes from his sister and asks if he still has the knife or if he left it outside.
“I don’t know. He walked in and there’s blood everywhere,” Lynn Mason says as at least one of her nieces wails in the background.
Lance Mason walks out again and the audio consists for a while of the dispatcher talking to officers, the back and forth punctuated by the shriek of sirens.
“Oh my God,” Lynn Mason whispers to herself at one point.
Lance Mason comes back inside the house as officers start to pull up to the scene. The dispatcher relays that information to the officers.
“Ten-four, we know,” an officer says.
“OK, are my officers there?” the dispatcher asks him.
An officer comes on and says there is a female down at the scene.
“She does look like she’s been stabbed,” the officer says.
A little while later, another officer comes on the audio.
"Radio, send a squad to my location. The guy rammed me from behind," says the officer, who was later identified by Shaker Heights police officials as Officer Adam Flynt.
Flynt and Lance Mason were both hospitalized.
The dispatcher asks Lynn Mason if she knows where her brother is.
“He’s walking around,” she responds. “He’s walking around. I think he wants to die to, so…”
The dispatcher asks Lynn Mason where she and the girls are in the house because three officers, plus a detective, are about to enter. She tells the woman they are in the living room, facing the street out front.
Lance Mason paces around the kitchen for a while before going into the living room with his sister and daughters. An officer comes over the radio and says Fraser is down and not breathing. The dispatcher tells him paramedics are on the way.
A few seconds later, officers can be heard yelling as they get inside the house.
The children can be heard crying. One girl is talking to her aunt, though WKYC edited the audio to remove things the children said during the call.
News 5 reported that the girl, sobbing, said, "He killed her."
“I know, baby. I’m so sorry,” Lynn Mason responds.
A former babysitter for Fraser and her ex-husband told Cleveland.com Monday that the little girls were Frazer's life. She also loved her job at Woodbury Elementary School, where a candlelight vigil was held Monday evening to remember the longtime teacher.
The Shaker Heights Teachers’ Association organized the vigil and established a GoFundMe page for Fraser’s children. As of Tuesday morning, the fundraising page had raised nearly $110,000.
"We are in deep mourning," read a post on the association's Facebook page. "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."
Hundreds of people gathered Monday night to remember Fraser, whose photo was displayed at the school's entrance as family members, colleagues, students and friends recalled her spirit. Cleveland.com reported that Woodbury Principal Danny Young remembered her kindness, compassion and love, as well as her sense of humor.
“We have lost an angel, as well as a phenomenal educator,” Young said.
Fraser’s pastor, Chip Freed, of Garfield Memorial Church, told the crowd they have all been left with questions about why her life was ended.
“Aisha’s light is now shining on another shore,”
. “As for the rest of us, we can either curse the darkness, or we can light candles.”
that Mason was removed from the bench about a month after an Aug. 2, 2014, assault on Fraser, in which he punched Fraser about 20 times and slammed her head repeatedly against the dashboard of his SUV. He also bit her and choked her as he drove,
The estranged couple were driving back from a family member's funeral with their daughters. According to a 911 call Fraser made, which was obtained in 2014 by Cleveland.com, Mason kicked her out of the SUV and, after beating her some more outside of the vehicle, drove away with the children.
Fraser, who feared for the safety of her daughters, begged dispatchers to find her children.
“I’m afraid he’s going to hurt my daughters,” a frantic-sounding Fraser said. “Please find my kids!”
Mason was arrested at his home, where officers found smoke grenades, semi-automatic rifles, more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and a sword, Cleveland.com reported.
After serving nine months of a two-year prison sentence for the beating, which left Fraser needing surgery to repair a fractured eye socket, Mason was hired last year by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, who named Mason the city’s minority business development administrator.
Jackson issued a statement Saturday in which he said city officials were aware of Mason's arrest and that the former judge had been terminated, effective immediately. City officials were cooperating with Shaker Heights investigators in the homicide case.
"I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Aisha Fraser, especially to her children," Jackson said.
Fox 8 reported Monday that Jackson stood by his hiring of Mason following his prison stint, saying he had no way to predict the future. He also stood by his policy of giving people second chances.
"We're gonna look at it as a policy. Our policy is second chances unless there is something that would prevent us from doing it," Jackson told the news station. "For example, you wouldn't hire a convicted felon and put them around children. You wouldn't hire an embezzler and put them in the finance department."
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