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Former Judge Lance Mason Pleads Not Guilty To Murder

A Stark County judge will preside over the case of a former Cuyahoga County judge charged with murder.

Former state legislator Lance Mason has pleaded not guilty to several charges including murder, aggravated murder, violating a protection order, grand theft, and felonious assault. Mason is accused of fatally stabbing his estranged wife Aisha Fraser last month in Shaker Heights, then allegedly ramming a police cruiser while fleeing the scene.

During his arraignment Tuesday afternoon at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, he appeared via a video link to the Cuyahoga County Jail. During the proceeding, Judge John Haas, who normally tries cases in Stark County, explained to Mason, a former Cuyahoga County judge, that he was brought in "because the judges here in Cuyahoga County have recused themselves."

"Is that acceptable to you, sir?" Haas asked. 

"Yes, your Honor," Mason replied. 

Haas set Mason's bond at $5 million, following the prosecutors' request and no objection from Mason's court-appointed attorneys.  

Mason, through his attorneys, waived his right to a speedy trial. The judge granted the waiver until September 2, 2019, but also said that he intends to "move the case along," implying that a trial could come sooner. 

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