SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH – The story emerging about Lance Mason’s relationship with ex-wife Aisha Fraser is that he was the type of man a man who loved women would not want dating or marrying his sister. He wasn’t physically violent. Lance was controlling and verbally abusive.
The disturbing description of their marriage EJBNEWS learned of came in part from the political community of people who knew Lance and Aisha, but who were closer to him and knew “of” her. Some knew all four of the parents who raised both Lance and Aisha in Shaker Heights, Ohio where they attended high school.
Their marriage seemed doomed from the beginning. Both Lance and Aisha were raised in families with parents who’d married only once. Aisha was an only child. Lance was one of four children. Neither Lance’s brother, Lauren (died while Lance was imprisoned), nor his sisters, Lynn and Lisa, followed their parents example of marriage. Lance in his mind was marrying Aisha with the intent of their marriage lasting forever in the style of Ephesian’s chapter 5 verses 21 through 24.
“21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the LORD. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
Lance’s church-going mother, the late Lillian Mason, wasn’t an Aisha fan for her “grandson-of-a-bishop” son. Aisha’s mother, Millicent Fraser, thought Lance was a “horrible” choice for her not-so-religious daughter she confided to someone who knew them both. She complained to a friend who knew him that he verbally trashed his bi-racial half African American and Chinese American wife.
The verbal abuse worsened after Lance moved his aged and ailing parents into their two-bedroom home while Aisha was expecting to deliver a child with Down Syndrome. Aisha, her mother told a close friend, wasn’t allowed to touch the setting of the thermostat even though she was a college-educated woman earning her own money.
That’s not the portrait of his domestic relationship that Lance shared with members of the Ohio Senate who served with him; or people he worked with under the late Stephanie Tubbs-Jones when she served as Cuyahoga County’s prosecuting attorney.
One former Cuyahoga County state senator told EJBNEWS she remembered Lance regularly sending flowers to Aisha while he served in the Ohio House of Representatives. Those same thoughts were shared by another state senator from southern Ohio.
U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge and Lance first met through the late U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones when she was appointed and then elected as Cuyahoga County’s prosecuting attorney. Stephanie appointed Marcia as her chief of staff and Lance as an assistant prosecuting attorney.
Their professional relationship continued when Tubbs-Jones replaced retired U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes and Marcia became her chief of staff. Lance joined Stephanie as the director of the 11th Congressional District office. When Marcia left Stephanie’s office to seek the job of Warrensville Heights’ mayor, Lance walked the city’s streets with her every weekend for a year.
Despite the close professional nature of their relationship people don’t follow each other home. Lance kept his personal business to himself. News that he’d viciously beaten Aisha chilled Marcia to the core as a woman who’d spent time with him; and who now wonders how he’d hidden such vicious traits.
Marcia was one of the 37 individuals who offered insights to prosecutors and the judge about the nature of their professional relationships with Lance. Marcia’s came at Aisha’s request because she wanted the father of her children out of her life as a husband; but not in jail.
Marcia told EJBNEWS Lance really didn’t stay in touch with her after he was released from prison. She didn’t know he’d been out for a month until she was asked by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish if they’d connected.
Budish’s career in politics began when Governor Ted Strickland appointed Lance to a Cuyahoga County court of common pleas judgeship to please Stephanie who wanted him closer to home and his family. Budish got Lance’s seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Lance is one of the late Dr. Theodore and Lillian Mason’s four children. His mother’s father was a Church of God in Christ Bishop at Williams Temple (COGIC) at 6812 Woodland Avenue in Cleveland near CMHA’s King Kennedy Estates. Lance was a devout church boy, gospel singer with a nice voice and close to his mother. His father was a prominent medical doctor.
The Mason family was raised black middle-class bourgeoise in Shaker Heights. Lance’s father and parents were described as unpretentious black professionals who educated themselves to move out of the Central area and raise their four children in Shaker Heights among other professionals and business owners. They had enough middle-class money not to worry about being able to afford new cars, family vacations and a mini-mansion across the street from Shaker Heights High School. Lance’s father was described as doting on his wife and keeping her in nice clothes, cars and furniture.
Nothing in Lance’s background as a privileged middle-class black youth, lawyer, state senator or common pleas judge seems to fit the image of the man who laid in wait dressed in black for Aisha to arrive at the duplex she owned on Chagrin Boulevard that housed his sister, Lynn.
EJBNEWS has learned that Lance discovered his daughters had been looked after by Aisha’s fiance`, Ronald B. Williams of Atlanta, Georgia, and it created a rage in him that would not die. Why Lynn didn’t warn Aisha not to show up to get the girls is a question left only to her conscience. But when Aisha arrived at the rental home she owned on 174th and Chagrin Boulevard Lance was waiting to ambush her.
A source said Lance learned mixed-martial arts in prison. Aisha’s body has defensive wounds that come from a knife attack. Lance stabbed her from behind which created a tremendous loss of blood and drove her to the ground. He stabbed her repeatedly as she lay dying. A garden hoe was used to nearly de-capitate her.
After the bloody attack Lance called his attorney, Fernando Mack, to turn himself in and called a friend to admit what he’d done. One source said he drank bleach in an effort to kill himself before he stole Aisha’s car and drove into a Shaker Heights police officer who’d arrived in response to his sister, Lynn’s, calls to 911.
Lance’s first savage attack on Aisha shocked his political friends and associates. His second one has left them speechless. None could have predicted that he would not make a comeback and stablize his life.