This week marks the 60th anniversary of a significant Warren County tragedy. On Jan. 13, 1954, Judge Allison Wade died at the hands of Norman Moon who was angry about an order to pay what he believed to be an exorbitant amount of spousal support. Moon, who was about to be sentenced for noncompliance, pulled a Colt .45 from his waistband. As those in the courtroom scurried away and into whatever hiding place they could find, he approached the bench and fired at Judge Allison Wade. Judge Wade was shot once in the chest, a fatal blow.
Moon fled the courthouse and shot himself in the neck as officers circled him. After recovery, he was eventually tried and convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Years, psychiatric tests, and appeals went by. Moon came as close as 13 days from his execution day, when it was extended, and his death sentence eventually commuted to a life sentence because he was deemed mentally insane. Norman Moon passed away from throat cancer on June 5, 1992.
Bullet holes remain in the Warren County Courthouse, and the Colt .45 is in the collections of the Warren County Historical Society.
Judge Allison Wade
The Honorable Judge Allison Wade was the first judge to be shot and killed while on the bench in United States history, a tragic blemish on Warren County's beautiful history. The entire story can be found in Murder in the Court Room by John L. Young and Lyle James Slack. For more information, visit www.warrenhistory.org or like the Warren County Historical Society on Facebook.