Sct Thunderstorms
H 80° L 67°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 80° L 67°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 80° L 67°
  • rain-day
    Showers. H 83° L 67°

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00


Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00


Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Judge held in ex-wife’s killing received ‘second chance’ from powerful friends 

Judge held in ex-wife’s killing received ‘second chance’ from powerful friends 

Former Ohio Judge Convicted of Beating Wife Now Suspect in Her Death

Judge held in ex-wife’s killing received ‘second chance’ from powerful friends 

Ronald Williams is heartbroken.

Williams, of Atlanta, was planning to spend Thanksgiving with his girlfriend, Ohio elementary schoolteacher Aisha Fraser. Instead, he is coming to grips with the fact that Fraser, 44, is dead, allegedly stabbed to death Saturday by her ex-husband, disgraced former Cuyahoga County Judge Lance Mason. 

“She was a gift and, to me, she was just the love of my life,” Williams told WKYC in Cleveland in a telephone interview. “She was an extraordinary mother, daughter, friend, a light, energy, special spirit, strong, independent, super super smart.”

Related story: ‘There’s blood everywhere’: 911 call released in former judge’s alleged killing of ex-wife

Williams said he became worried Saturday morning when he could not reach Fraser via text. He called her mother. 

“I said, ‘Mama Fraser, is everything OK?’ and she said, ‘No it’s not, Ron, I’m sitting in front of a crime scene and I’ve been here for an hour and I don’t know what's going on,’” Williams told the news station. “I immediately started to freak out.”

Williams, who first met Fraser in college and began dating her in 2016 after she got divorced, told WKYC that he feared deep down that Mason, 51, would someday lash out violently at her. It had happened before. 

Mason was removed from the bench in 2014 after viciously beating Fraser so badly that she required reconstructive surgery to repair a broken eye socket. After serving nine months of a two-year prison sentence, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson hired Mason last year as the city’s minority business development director. 

The mayor announced Mason’s firing after Fraser’s slaying and the former judge’s arrest. 

Jackson on Monday defended the hire and, according to WKYC, refused to apologize. 

“No, I am not apologizing to the family,” Jackson told the news station. “I will tell the family I am greatly sorry for their loss.”

Jackson has a “second chance” policy in which many former prisoners are hired to work at Cleveland City Hall. The policy, and his hiring of Mason, has come under intense criticism. 

Cleveland.com editorial cartoonist Jeff Darcy on Tuesday resurfaced a November 2017 cartoon decrying Jackson’s hiring of Mason, in which Mason’s picture is shown on a poster in the city human resources office. The poster proclaims him “Wife-Beating Employee of the Month,” and Harvey Weinstein and O.J. Simpson are seen applying for jobs.

In the updated version, the word “FIRED” is stamped across Mason’s face, and Simpson’s job application states it is for “Lance Mason’s old job.”

Darcy writes in the accompanying opinion piece that Jackson’s hiring of Mason, and his defense of the hiring, are “derelict” and “disgusting.”

“Mayor Frank Jackson has blood on his hands, and it's not from harvesting a Thanksgiving turkey,” Darcy writes. 

Related story: Ohio judge removed from bench for beating wife in 2014 accused of stabbing her to death

Darcy is not the only person outside of Fraser’s circle of loved ones who has spoken out. Jim Swift, deputy online editor of The Weekly Standard, wrote on Twitter that the suspects who mugged him in high school got more prison time than Mason did. 

“Which. Is. Insane,” Swift wrote. “Mason should have been in prison for years, not months.”

Others on social media talked of organizing protests in Fraser’s name. 

The mayor admitted to WKYC that some of the felons hired by the city have served time for homicides. He would not say how many, the news station said. 

Jackson also said that, while Mason was the most qualified candidate for the position out of a field of 16 candidates, nothing was done to determine if the former judge posed a potential threat to his co-workers. 

“We did nothing to see if he was rehabilitated,” Jackson said

Cleveland.com reported that at the time of the 2014 assault on Fraser, the then-estranged couple were returning from a family member’s funeral, their two young daughters in the back seat of the SUV. 

Mason, then a common pleas judge, punched Fraser about 20 times, slammed her head repeatedly into the vehicle’s dashboard, bit her and choked her before forcing her out of the SUV and driving away with the girls. In a frantic 911 call, a battered Fraser begged police to find her children. 

Mason was later arrested at his home, where investigators found smoke grenades, semi-automatic rifles, more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest and a sword, according to Cleveland.com

>> Read more trending news

Shaker Heights Police Department
Then-Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason is pictured in his August 2014 mugshots following his violent assault of his then-estranged wife, Aisha Fraser Mason. The couple was divorced the following year.

Ohio judge removed from bench for beating wife in 2014 arrested in her fatal stabbing

Photo Credit: Shaker Heights Police Department
Then-Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason is pictured in his August 2014 mugshots following his violent assault of his then-estranged wife, Aisha Fraser Mason. The couple was divorced the following year.

Mason was indicted on charges of kidnapping, domestic violence, felonious assault, attempted felonious assault and endangering the welfare of his children, Cuyahoga County court records show. He pleaded guilty to the domestic violence and attempted felonious assault charges, and the remainder of the charges were dropped. 

He was sentenced in September 2015 to two years in prison but served less than half. Besides the prison time and removal from the bench, he was also prohibited by the Ohio State Bar Association from practicing law again.

Cleveland.com reported Tuesday that the license revocation wasn’t for a lack of trying to save his career. When Mason’s case went before the disciplinary board, a plethora of high-profile people -- including four sitting judges and U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge -- vouched for Mason’s character. 

The news site obtained dozens of glowing letters of support written on his behalf in early 2017. 

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judges Hollie Gallagher and Brendan Sheehan wrote that, during their time working with Mason, he was “pleasant, fair and judicious,” Cleveland.com said. Judge John J. Russo, the pleas court’s administrative and presiding judge, wrote that only Fraser could forgive Mason for what he had done.

“What happened with Lance Mason was unfortunate and indefensible,” Russo wrote, according to Cleveland.com. “But I hope the Board of Professional Conduct considers the entirety of Lance Mason’s career and future potential in making their decision. He lost everything that day, but there is still time for the Lance Mason I once knew to put his skills to use in helping others.”

Fudge, who is vying to become Speaker of the House, wrote about the lawyer, prosecutor, state legislator and judge she had known for three decades prior to the attack on his wife. 

“Lance accepts full responsibility for his actions and has assured me that something like this will never happen again,” Fudge wrote in 2017. “Lance Mason is a good man who made a very bad mistake. I can only hope that you see in Lance what I and others see.”

Fudge on Monday night told the news site that she was heartbroken over Fraser’s slaying. She said the person who committed the crime is not the Mason she knew.

“It was a horrific crime,” Fudge said. “I and everyone who knew Aisha are mourning her loss.”

Another Mason supporter who walked back his support since the homicide is civil rights attorney Subodh Chandra, who in 2017 wrote that Mason’s “chance at recidivism (was) nil,” Cleveland.com reported. Chandra also quoted William Shakespeare: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

He wrote that Mason was too young to have all the good he’d done be forgotten.

Chandra said in a statement Monday that he wrote those words about a man he only thought he knew.

“When responding to the request of Judge Mason’s attorney, I talked about the distinguished public servant and well-respected judge I thought I knew -- believing that Aisha Fraser and their children deserved to have Mason support them financially,” Chandra said. “Now my heart is shattered for those children.”

The letters by Mason’s supporters, along with letters he wrote to his wife and daughters while in prison, failed to persuade the state bar of his remorse. Richard Dove, the director of the Board of Professional Conduct, wrote that Mason not only could not explain what made him attack Fraser that day, but that he could not assure board members it would not happen again. 

“How can I speculate or anyone speculate what they would do in a circumstance they never thought they would be in?” the records quote him as saying during his hearing. 

“It is important to note that (Mason’s) attack of his wife on August 2, 2014, was not a mere loss of temper resulting in a single strike or even two,” Dove wrote, according to Cleveland.com. “It was a crazed attack involving multiple strikes, multiple bites, and pursuit.

“When those who knew (Mason) would not have believed him capable of the acts he committed on August 2, 2014, and the evidence presented does not sufficiently explain the acts of that date, the reasonable conclusion is that, in the right circumstances, the events of that date could very well happen again.”

The board recommended that Mason be barred from practicing law for life.

That recommendation did not stop Jackson from hiring Mason last year. 

Williams told the news station Mason should have still been in prison after beating Fraser four years ago and that he should not have had access to his children. He also said he wants those who supported Mason and allowed him early release to be held accountable. 

“They are all collectively responsible for Aisha’s death and the kids witnessing for the second time what a brutal evil monster that other parent was,” Williams said

Read More
  • Tulsa police say a security guard was fatally shot while trying to break up a fight near 41st and Memorial. Tulsa police say that multiple shots were fired during a fight at Fantasia hookah lounge around 3 a.m. Saturday morning. Three people were injured. Police say that security guard Mohamad Elkour died at a hospital after being shot in the upper torso. TPD says a suspect who was also shot is being treated for wounds and will be arrested after he recovers. Officers say a rifle and pistol were used in the shooting. Some cars in the parking lot were hit. Investigators continue to interview witnesses. Officials told FOX23 EMSA transported one victim, another victim drove to the hospital and a third victim is unaccounted for.  DOWNLOAD the FOX23 News app for updates sent to your phone.
  • So after all the flooding the area went through, you might be wondering if YOUR house is in a flood zone. We found an easy way to check. There's a website from the Legal Services Corporation, where you type in your address, and it will pull up a map that shows if you're in a flood zone. Keep in mind that there's a wide variety of zones based on the level of flood risk. You can check out the FEMA flood maps too. Here's a link where you can check out both.
  • The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is investigating a suspicious death in Pawnee County. The Pawnee County Sheriff's Office asked for help from OSBI after human remains were found in a burned residence in the 54000 block of South 36520 Road in Cleveland. Firefighters were called to the house on June 6. The human remains were found in the debris on Thursday.  Deputies say they’re not ruling it a homicide, but the death is suspicious. The Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiners will now determine the cause of death. Investigators haven’t released the name.
  • The pursuit of a shooting with intent to kill suspect took a surprising twist when the suspect fell off of a bridge and tumbled to the ground some thirty feet below. The Tulsa police department released video of the incident this week. TPD says it happened April 30th of this year on the north leg of the inner dispersal loop downtown. The suspect, identified as Damico Taylor, is seen hanging from the bridge in video from an officer's bodycam. The officer commands him to “get on the ground,” and at that point Taylor either slips, or deliberately drops, to the ground below. When the officer gets to him, he doesn't pull a weapon - rather, he pulls out rubber gloves and begins assessing the suspect's condition. As of this writing, no charges have been filed yet in the case. Police say Taylor suffered multiple injuries, but will recover.

Washington Insider

  • With rules that make it difficult for lawmakers to steer taxpayer dollars into home state projects - that doesn't mean less money is being spent for such items - as instead billions of dollars in grants are being handed out by the Executive Branch each year, with federal bureaucrats taking the place of lawmakers in deciding how to dole out money approved by Congress for a variety of programs. A decade ago for example, Congress would have approved a highway bill filled with pages and pages of specific projects to be funded back in their states - but now, Congress funds billions in generic grants for the Department of Transportation, and then watches as the money is handed out by the feds. Experts say voters probably don't understand that what some would deride as 'pork barrel spending' just been shifted from the Legislative Branch to the Executive Branch. 'Presidents — and their appointees — engage in pork-barrel politicking (earmarking) in the same way Congress does,' wrote John Hudak of the Brookings Institute, who argues that budget 'earmarks' should be brought back in the House and Senate. Here are some examples of money sent out for highway and transit projects by the feds: Some lawmakers say they should be the ones deciding where that money goes - not a bureaucrat who maybe has never been to their state. 'We all should be able to stand behind the work that we do and advertise to our constituents and everybody around the country as to why this is a priority,' said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). 'If people think we are quote saving money,' Murkowski told reporters, 'they are fooling themselves, because those dollars are still going out the door.' But there are also Republicans who think Congress should just stay away from pork barrel spending. 'Earmarks grease the skids for bigger government,' said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). But regardless of complaints about how big the federal deficit might be, and how much is being spent overall, lawmakers of both parties trumpet the arrival of money for the folks back home - with federal agencies joining in those announcements as well. There are so many grants offered by the U.S. Government that a special website was set up to help people find out more information about what's available. Going through many of the grants, what one notices right away is the wide swath of money available for all sorts of matters: + Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) USA Cooperative Agreement Program + Invasive and Noxious Plant Management  + Forest and Woodlands Resource Management + Cultural Landscape Inventory for the Navajo Settlement  + Longitudinal Research on Delinquency and Crime  One grant available right now from the National Institutes of Health deals with research into dementia, 'to conduct new research on automobile technology for signaling early signs of cognitive impairment in older drivers.' In recent weeks, President Trump has made it clear that he's ready to use support for specific home-state spending matters to his electoral advantage, too. The focus on local spending is not new - almost ten years ago, I wrote about the proliferation of grants, and how the executive branch was handing out the pork. And it's still happening today.
  • NBC News and the Democratic National Committee unveiled the lineups for the first two night debate in late June, setting the stage for the first group face off of the large Democratic field for 2020, with three top candidates getting paired together on the second night. The first night - Wednesday June 26 - features Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), while former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) are grouped together on Thursday. Here are the lineups as announced Friday by NBC News, which is hosting this first debate in Miami. The lineup means that four of the top five candidates - in terms of overall polling right now among Democrats - will be in the second debate, with Warren the only one of those leaders going on Wednesday.
  • With lawmakers in both parties criticizing remarks by President Donald Trump in which he said he would not automatically reject offers of foreign election help, the head of the Federal Election Committee went on Mr. Trump's favorite social media platform Thursday night to clearly state that such a move 'has been considered unacceptable since the beginning of our nation.' “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office,” said Federal Elections Commission chair Ellen Weintraub.  “It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,” Weintraub said in a statement on Twitter. Without mentioning the President directly, the FEC chief directly addressed one of his comments in an interview earlier this week with ABC News. “Any political campaign that receives an offer of a prohibited donation from a foreign source should report that to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Weintraub said, echoing calls by the FBI Director last month, and directly contradicting the President's statements from earlier this week. “Everybody in the country should be totally appalled by what the President said,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. “This one borders on so totally unethical that he doesn’t even realize it,” she added, as the President took flak from members of both parties. “I think it's a mistake,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters on Capitol Hill.  “I don't want to send a signal to encourage this.”
  • Margaret Hunter, indicted along with her husband Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) for the alleged misuse of over $250,000 in campaign money, plead guilty on Thursday to federal corruption charges, raising the possibility that she could testify in any trial involving the GOP lawmaker. The Hunters were indicted in August of 2018 over the use of campaign money for personal expenses, as federal prosecutors detailed how credit cards for the Congressman's campaign were used for family vacations, hotel rooms, dinners, and a variety of personal home expenses. Under her agreement with federal prosecutors, Margaret Hunter plead guilty to 'knowingly and willfully' converting campaign funds to personal use; the original indictment against the Hunters said the husband and wife 'knowingly conspired with each other.' Mrs. Hunter did not speak to reporters, allowing her lawyer Thomas McNamara to read a statement outside the court house, after she entered her plea agreement. The guilty plea raised even more questions about Hunter's future in the Congress; Republican leaders have refused to allow Hunter to serve on any committees while he is under indictment, leaving him with little in the way of official responsibilities, other than voting and constituent services. Hunter is one of two GOP lawmakers currently serving in Congress who are facing federal indictments.  Rep. Chris Collins R-NY is awaiting trial on charges related to insider trading. The charges against the Hunters were highly detailed, showing that they funneled campaign money to their own personal use for vacations, hotels, dinners - and a wide variety of domestic items, including groceries, payments for a dance competition, video games, school lunches for their children, dental work, dog food, utility bills, and even private school tuition. The plea agreement also included details of how the Hunters used campaign money to fly their family's pet rabbit around the country. Hunter's reaction came in a written statement, as he again denounced his prosecution. “It was politically motivated at the beginning, it remains politically motivated now,” Hunter said. Rep. Hunter's next scheduled court date is July 1.
  • A day after Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) voted with Democrats on a U.S. House panel to hold the Attorney General and the Secretary of Commerce in contempt of Congress, one of President Trump's sons stepped up the attacks on the Michigan Republican, making clear a strong desire to get rid of the GOP lawmaker in the 2020 elections. 'I hear Michigan is beautiful during primary season,' tweeted Donald Trump Jr., on Thursday morning, citing a poll in Amash's district in Western Michigan, which showed him trailing a primary challenger. Amash responded by quoting from an email by Trump Jr. about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting, involving an offer of dirt on the campaign of Hillary Clinton. In a tweet, Amash said, “if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer” - which was exactly Trump Jr.'s response on June 3, 2016 to an email which offered “documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.” Earlier this week, Amash resigned from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, as the top Republican in the House made clear that Amash's call for impeachment proceedings against President Trump was not welcome. 'Justin Amash can determine his own future, but I think in a philosophical basis, he’s probably in a different place than the majority of all of us,' said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). After Amash raised questions about how Attorney General William Barr had handled the Mueller Report, President Trump had called Amash a 'loser.' Amash defended his decision to join with Democrats in the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday to find Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt, in a dispute over documents about the Trump Administration's efforts to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. 'Both Democratic and Republican attorneys general are capable of being in contempt of Congress,' Amash said, as he defended voting for contempt proceedings as well against Attorney General Eric Holder under President Obama. Amash is the only Republican lawmaker in the House who has called for the start of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, arguing that questions concerning possible obstruction of justice deserve further scrutiny by the Congress. Amash argues there is too much partisanship, which keeps lawmakers and politicians from honestly dealing with major issues before America. 'The two-party system is hurting America,' Amash tweeted this week. First elected in the Tea Party wave election of 2010, Amash has already drawn two GOP challengers in his district. The Michigan primary elections don't take place until August 4, 2020.