Omaha, Nebraska – In a court appearance on Monday afternoon, Fernandez Mason, aged 22, was denied bond in relation to the murders of his mother and sister in Omaha. Mason has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm to commit a felony.
His family contends that the absence of adequate mental healthcare in the Omaha-metro area played a role in this tragedy, suggesting that it might have been prevented if Mason had received proper care.
According to court documents, last week a neighbor contacted Douglas County deputies to request a welfare check on 55-year-old Lisa Cannon, stating that she was terminally ill and had not been responsive since the previous day. Lisa’s daughter, 30-year-old Marquesha, also resided in the apartment.
Upon arrival, deputies discovered the front door unlocked. Lisa was found face-down on the floor, covered with a sheet and blanket, with a wooden backscratcher placed on top. In the kitchen trash, deputies found a box labeled for a 9mm firearm, along with a broken plastic trigger lock on the kitchen counter.
The neighbor informed deputies that Lisa had been suffering from terminal cancer and that Marquesha had moved in to assist in her care. Concerned by their unsuccessful attempts to contact Marquesha, the authorities were alerted.
Upon reentering the apartment, deputies discovered Marquesha’s body in the second bedroom, covered with a box spring, mattress, and sheets.
While at the scene, deputies observed Mason arriving in a 2007 Nissan Altima and parking nearby. They engaged in conversation with Mason and noticed a partially-loaded handgun in the driver’s door handle. Mason allegedly admitted to deputies that he had the firearm in the car. Subsequently, he agreed to discuss the suspected deaths and accompanied them to the sheriff’s office.
After being informed of his rights, Mason reportedly confessed to using the handgun to shoot both women. He admitted to purchasing the gun on the same day and having it in his possession in the car.
During Monday’s proceedings, prosecutors revealed that Mason claimed to have received signs from unidentified individuals instructing him to kill his mother. He explained that he shot Marquesha first to avoid complications that might arise if he had shot Lisa first. Additionally, he admitted to disposing of the clothing he wore at the time of the murders in various dumpsters throughout the city.
Following his court appearance, family members expressed their ongoing love and support for Mason. Tylesha Mason, Fernandez’s biological sister, acknowledged the challenging circumstances they faced within the system and their fragmented upbringing. She stated, “We had the rough end of the system… We didn’t grow up together, and when we did have the chance to grow up with each other, it just…”
Monika Bell, who served as a foster mother to Fernandez for 11 years, firmly believes that the mental health system failed him. She explained that a new doctor had discontinued Mason’s medication, leading to his discontinuation from ninth grade onwards. As Mason grew older, his condition worsened, yet he no longer believed he needed medication based on his doctor’s advice.
Mason’s sister wants it known that he was a football player, attended college, and is loved unconditionally, irrespective of the circumstances. She emphasized, “Knowing that we all were in the system, we were fighting for love… That’s what we were. There were seven of us.”
A preliminary hearing for Mason has been scheduled for next month.