CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Former judge Lance Mason appeared in court Tuesday for what was supposed to be a pretrial hearing in the killing of his ex-wife.
Instead, the 51-year-old admitted his guilt for murdering Aisha Fraser to avoid prolonging the court proceedings.
“Your honor, I wish to take responsibility for the crimes I committed,” Mason said, visibly holding back emotions during questioning.
Mason pleaded guilty to six crimes, which include aggravated murder, felonious assault, and assault on a peace officer.
According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Fraser took the couple’s daughter to her former sister-in-law’s home on Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights on Nov. 17, 2018.
Mason, who was renting the home at the time, agreed to take the daughter to a martial arts class that morning.
Investigators said that Mason immediately attacked 45-year-old Fraser, a former teacher at Woodbury Elementary School, when they arrived to the house. He stabbed her multiple times in the driveway, in the presence of the couple’s children, ages 8 and 11 years old at the time.
“There was no way I was going let my daughter testify against me,” Mason told the Stark County judge who was brought in to oversee the trial after Cuyahoga County judges recused themselves.
While fleeing from the scene in a car stolen from Fraser, Shaker Heights police said Mason rammed into a cruiser, injuring officer Adam Flynt. He then attempted to run on foot, but was arrested a short time later.
Fraser was left to die in the driveway.
In 2015, pleaded guilty to domestic violence for a 2014 assault on Fraser. He served nine months in prison following that violent incident.
Despite the past assault conviction, Ohio lawmakers, religious leaders, and fellow judges wrote letters of support for Mason, saying the behavior was “out of character.”
At Tuesday’s hearing, Mason appeared in an orange prison suit alongside his attorneys. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley was also present in the courtroom.
“Lance Mason was on a mission the morning of Nov. 17, 2018. He was of the singular thought to end the victim’s life. Not even the presence of his children would deter him from this barbaric and gruesome attack,” said O’Malley. “This case illustrates that domestic violence cuts across all socioeconomic lines.”
Mason’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12. He faces the possibility of life in prison without the possibility for parole.