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Former Cuyahoga County judge Lance Mason showed homicidal tendencies, group says

Posted: 5:35 PM, Nov 21, 2018
Updated: 2019-09-10 14:10:25-04

On Saturday a former Cuyahoga County judge was arrested in connection with the death of his ex-wife.

Records show that Lance Mason, who at the time of the homicide, was employed by Cleveland after Mayor Frank Jackson hired him after serving jail time for beating the same woman in 2014. Jackson not only defended the hiring of Lance Mason but refused to apologize to her family, or for hiring him following his release from prison.

"If we were able to project the future and look into the future and determine how someone would behave then, of course, we would make different decisions," Jackson told News 5 Monday.  

RELATED:  What we know about the death of Aisha Fraser: Mason booked for police assault, mugshot released

Jackson said there was no way to predict the horror that unfolded Saturday. But a program running right here in the city he represents says that's not true. 

Nearly 50 percent of domestic violence victims in Cleveland are at high risk of homicide or severe assault. Only one in three domestic violence abusers, in Cuyahoga County, spends a day behind bars, our report states.   

More than 90 percent of female homicide victims were killed by a man they knew, according to the county's domestic violence high-risk team.

"We do know domestic violence homicides are predictable. The risk factors are very clear," Jeff Kretschmar, Case Western's Managing Director of Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education told News 5. 

Kretschmar is part of the study and the Domestic Violence High Risk team at Case Western, where researchers, domestic advocates, and Cleveland police officers all come together.

Cuyahoga County Witness Victim Service Center and the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center operate and lead the team.

Researchers at Case Western provide the evaluation services.  

According to the team, the signs were there in Fraser’s case.

According to reports on the assault that put him behind bars, in the car with their children, Mason slammed her head into the dashboard of a car, bit her face, punched her so hard her eye sockets broke and choked her. 

Choking and strangulation is the number one risk factor for victims according to the group's assessment; "because it's so close to a homicide," Kretschmar said. 

Officers found guns, a sword, a bulletproof vest and thousands of rounds of ammunition when Mason was arrested following the first assault.

"Access to guns is a significant predictor," Kretschmar said. 

This team, formed with a grant in 2016 and based at Case Western, are the only group in the state doing work like theirs. 

They're working to identify and protect victims every single day, women like Fraser. 

"We need to listen to victims. To ask them these questions. To assess their risk for homicide. Because there are services available to them," Kretschmar said. 

Mason has been arrested and named a suspect but has not been charged with murder.

Currently, he's being held on a felonious assault charge for crashing his car into a Shaker Heights Police Cruiser.  More charges are expected.