A former Ohio judge and state lawmaker who went to prison for brutally assaulting his wife in 2014 was taken into custody after she was found dead, authorities said.
The ex-judge, Lance Mason, was hired as Cleveland’s minority business administrator after being released from prison but was fired Saturday when he was arrested, NBC affiliate WKYC reported.
Details of the death of Mason’s estranged wife, Aisha Fraser, weren’t immediately available, but police in Shaker Heights, Ohio, said in a statement that is was a “terrible tragedy.”
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It also wasn’t clear what charges Mason may face. The Shaker Heights Police Department, which said in a brief statement that Mason was taken into custody after an initial investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to court documents, Mason — who had also served as a state representative and state senator — got into an argument with Fraser on Aug. 2, 2014, while returning from a relative’s funeral.
With their 6-year-old and 4-year-old children in the vehicle, Mason repeatedly struck Fraser in the head, bit her face and slammed her head against the dashboard, armrest and passenger window, the documents say.
After trying to escape, Fraser fell to the ground, where Mason continued to strike her, the documents say, adding that he then got back in the vehicle and drove away, leaving Fraser there.
Mason was sentenced to 24 months behind bars for the assault and served nine, according to the documents and WKYC. He was indefinitely suspended from practicing law, according to court documents.
The station reported last year that Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, may have helped Mason secure a job as Cleveland’s minority business administrator, though the congresswoman denied the report, saying she didn’t urge Mayor Frank Jackson to hire him.
The mayor’s spokesman, Dan Williams, also denied the claim.
Williams did not respond to a request for comment about Mason’s reported firing, but WKYC reported that that Jackson sent his “deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Aisha Fraser, especially to her children.”
Fraser had been a teacher for two decades and taught sixth grade at a local elementary school at the time of her death, the station reported. In a statement to WKYC, an uncle said she would be missed by all, adding, “Heaven just a got a magnificent angel.”
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.