Newspaper coverage the day of incredibly detailed

Photo courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society The headline of the Warren Times-Mirror on the day of Judge Wade’s murder.

JUDGE WADE VICTIM OF ASSASSIN

MAN IN COURT CHARGED WITH NON-SUPPORT GOES BERSERK AND FATALLY SHOOTS JURIST

That headline surely stunned readers of the Warren Times-Mirror on January 13, 1954.

The coverage is incredibly detailed for reporting published the day of the event and is part of the Warren County Historical Society’s collection.

Warren County’s President Judge Allison D. Wade lost his life in line of duty on the bench this morning, succumbing in a few moments to bullet wounds received from a spray of heavy caliber bullets from a service automatic pistol in the hands of Norman Moon, of Connellsville, Pa., called to report in the local court today on a non-support case.

Sitting in the court room in the first pew of the audience section, Moon was waiting for his case to be called. When Judge Wade called the case, District Attorney M.A. Kornreich was making a statement of the matter in review, and Judge Wade asked Moon if he wished to wait for his attorney, who was not present at the time. Moon replied that he did not, and Judge Wade asked him to step forward. Moon has previously been represented by Attorney Henry Nicholson.

As Moon arose, Kornreich said he strolled slowly roward the bar gate, fumbling with his coat and drawing his pistol, in a holster at his belt. Kornreich said he saw immediately what was happening, and dashed for a door to the right of the dais, leading to the rear corridor of the second floor, with the idea of summoning state and city police.

Moon threw a shot a(t) Kornreich, narrowly missing him then took a shot at Attorney Harold Hampson, representing Moon’s wife, and lastly turned the gun on Judge Wade. Empty shell cases indicate that at least five shots were fired, and it is believed the gun must have jammed because two undischarged shells were found on the floor near the gate.

Witnesses said Moon was heard to mumble a remark to the effect that “your time has come” just before firing at Judge Wade.

In the court room at the time was Dr. John E. Thompson, of Youngsville, who said that Judge Wade died soon after being wounded. He was apparently struck by two of the bullets, one near the heart and the other lower down in his left side.

Moon then ran to the courtroom’s main doors and down the staris to the front door of the Court House. Attorney Sam Bonavita intercepted Moon near the front doors and followed him to his car where he tried to reason with the man, but returned to the Court House when Moon threatened to shoot him if he interfered.

Moon jumped into his car and started west. Meanwhile, Attorney Bonavita got into a State Police car manned by Sgt. C.C. Naddio, and Pvts. Paul Dell, George Kaleina and Joseph Mastrian and gave chase. On the three-lane highway west of Warren, the ypulled alongside Moon’s car, attempting to stop him, but not knowing that Moon had shot the Judge. They were aware only that he was wanted by authorities. Attorney Bonavita on the first floor of the Court House at the time of the shooting, did not know, either, that Judge Wade had been shot.

Police finally shot a rear tire on Moon’s car but he continued on, not pulling off the road until he got just west of the Irvine overhead, where he pulled to the left side of the road and got out of his car, waving the gun in his hand. Sgt. Naddio shouted at him repeatedly to put the gun down and suddenly Moon turned the weapon, shooting himself in the right side of the neck, the bullet going through his head and coming out just above the left ear.

He was rushed to Warren General Hospital where his condition is critical but doctors in attendance say he has a narrow chance of survival….

Bullet marks are to be seen in the wood paneling of the walls as well as in the paneling of the dais.

Moon was arrested some time ago on a non-support charge and appealed a court order for support of his wife issued by Judge Wade…. Moon is charged with desertion of his wife and is behind a substantial amount in payment for her support….”

No charges have been filed against Moon as yet but he will be charged with murder if he survives. Coronor Ed C. Lowrey, being assisted in his investigation by W. L. Lutz and Allen VerMilyea, stated whether or not an inquest will be held also depends on Moon’s survival or death.

The newspaper’s reporting indicates that Wade was born in 1902 and “had spent his entire lifetime as a member of this community” as a 1920 Warren High School graduate. He was admitted to the bar in 1930.

“First elected president judge of Warren county in 1942, he had never before held public office, although he had served the county as solicitor for nine years,” the newspaper reported. “He was reelected for another term and led the Republican ticket in November, 1951.”

Wade was involved with the Young Republicans initiative and had served with numerous civic organizations but, “in more recent years, he had turned his attention to a deep study of Communism and was frequently heard as speaker on way of combatting the influence of the spreading Red influence.”

His “principal hobby” was painting, the report indicated.

COMMENTS