In the first installment of this 3-part series, Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten sat down with former Chief Judge Emerson Thompson, Jr. to discuss the backdrop leading up to the tragic 1984 courthouse shooting. Today, Judge Thompson, Circuit Judge Mark S. Blechman, and other eye witnesses give chilling accounts of the events that unfolded on that dreadful January 10th day.
In 1984, Mark Blechman was a young, state attorney assigned to the Orange County Courthouse. The Orange County Courthouse was a close-knit community and home to Judges and court staff who shared more than a common workplace. As Judge Blechman details, the horrific shooting sent shockwaves through the community and forever changed courthouse life.
Judge Blechman gives a detailed account of how he and his co-workers stayed safe during the shooting by huddling under the attorneys’ tables in the courtroom. He mentions how a bullet from the shooter’s gun ricocheted through a window and into the courtroom. The fear he felt on that day was like nothing he’d ever experienced before.
Tune into this podcast to hear survivors tell their stories and honor the memory of the victims. As Judge Blechman describes, Bailiff William "Arnie” Wilkerson, who was fatally shot by Provenzano, was a caring, sweet human being who gave his life protecting others. Bailiff Harry Dalton and Corrections Officer Mark Parker died years later from injuries related to the shooting. Their lives were celebrated during the 34th Remembrance Ceremony on January 10, 2018. Though gone, their heroism and selfless sacrifice will be remembered forever.