The Murders of Warren and Madge Moore

September 24, 2013

Warren and Madge Moore

The word most people used to describe Warren Moore Jr. was “dedicated.” Dedicated to his job as a data processor until he retired and also dedicated to the city of Union, Kentucky where he served as an elected and appointed official for 27 years in the roles of commissioner, mayor, and an administrator. However, no matter how dedicated he was to his job and to the city of Union, his first priority was always his family.

Everyone said they were a match made in heaven. Warren and Madge were high school sweethearts at Hume-Fogg Technical & Vocational High School in Nashville, Tennessee. On Warren Moore’s website he described Madge as “the love of his life,” and even at the time of the murders, the police found Madge’s high school yearbook picture in his wallet.

The Moore family grew when the couple had two sons. In 1978, the family moved to Union, Kentucky. The oldest son, Warren “Smitty” Moore III, is currently an Associative Professor of English at Newberry College in South Carolina. The youngest son, Michael Moore, is a former Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy. Madge often said that she had plenty of different jobs but her favorite job, by far, was being a mother.

During the 1980’s, Madge was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and prescribed pain medication because of the pain the disease kept her in. Warren Moore was dedicated to taking care of his wife. It was often hard on him to see his wife’s health deteriorating over the years.

A Son’s Addiction

Everyone knew that Michael Moore had always experimented with drugs throughout the years, but according to friends and family, he always seemed to control his usage up until January 2004. At the beginning of the month, Michael had sustained a back injury while working as a Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy. The injury required back surgery and prescriptions for pain relief. From the very beginning, the pain medication seemed to have a hold on Michael unlike any other drug he had ever used.

By the end of January 2004, Michael Moore had been fired from his job after a grand jury indicted him for stealing marijuana from an evidence locker at work and for producing methamphetamine in his garage with an acquaintance. He was found guilty of possession of a dangerous drug and theft. Moore was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three year’s probation, and was required to complete drug treatment. Even though most people felt Michael was given a slap on the wrist, in 2005, he had to serve several months in state prison for three probation violations.

By 2008, Michael Moore was in the middle of a divorce and decided to move in with his parents, Warren and Madge. It wasn’t long before the relationship with their son became strained, especially where Warren was concerned. It became apparent to Warren that his son was asking Madge for her pain medication and was even going as far as stealing from his own mother to support his drug habit. Michael’s father became so upset about everything that was going on around him, he began locking up his wife’s medication in the bedroom safe. That helped for a while until Michael found out what the combination was. Warren’s next attempt at controlling the situation was locking Madge’s pain pills in his desk at the Union City Building, but Michael would just wait for his father to fall asleep, steal his keys, go down to the city building, and take the medication out of his desk. Finally, Warren had resorted to just carrying the pills in his pocket everywhere he went and counted the pills a few times per day. Even with Michael’s addiction and problems going on in the house, no one could have predicted what would happen next.

Till Death Do Us Part

On July 12, 2009 at 11:36 PM, Union County 911 received a call about an intruder shooting three people at 10010 Indian Hill Drive in the city of Union. The call was made by Michael Moore. When the police arrived minutes later, they first discovered Madge Moore lying in the kitchen, dead from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. They continued on and right in the middle of the stairwell, they discovered the body of Warren Moore. He had died from two gunshot wounds to the head. The police, unaware if the intruder was still in the house, headed down to the basement where they discovered Michael Moore sitting in a chair bleeding heavily. He had been shot once in the scrotum with an exit wound in the left thigh. The ambulance rushed Michael to the hospital.

Meanwhile back at the crime scene, homicide detectives had a ton of questions for the only survivor to what appeared to be an ambush. However, to their dismay, when they tried to speak to Mr. Moore, he claimed the pain medication he was on for the gunshot wound was too powerful and he couldn’t comprehend what they were asking him. The police had no choice but to be patient and wait for Michael to recover. Then the police finally got a break. They discovered a 357 magnum revolver on the Moore’s roof. They had the murder weapon, as well as blood evidence left on the sidewalk directly below where the gun was discovered.

On June 29, 2009, 11 days after the murders, Michael Moore was released from the hospital. Detectives were still in need of another statement from the lone survivor. Once again, Michael claimed he couldn’t comprehend what they were asking because of the medications he was on. Then, to everyone’s surprise, on July 7, 2009, Michael Moore was arrested for what was called “doctor shopping.” According to the indictment, Michael was traveling to different doctor’s offices to receive prescriptions for the same kind of pain medication. Authorities say he traveled as far as Atlanta to see doctors.

By this time, much of the crime scene had been processed and now the detectives could finally get their chance to talk to the man that had been putting them off for almost a month. Michael stuck to his original story. He said that an intruder “wearing all black, maybe wearing a hat or a mask, and definitely not overweight broke in and killed his parents and shot him.” When asked if it was a man or a woman, he stated that he couldn’t tell the sex of the assailant. What Michael Moore didn’t know was that the detectives had some evidence of their own. The blood found on the sidewalk under where the gun was thrown was identified as a mixture of Warren, Madge, and Michael Moore.

The most damning evidence though came directly from Warren Moore himself. When searching the body, Warren had three items in his pocket. The first was his wallet. Then, they found Madge Moore’s prescription bottles of pain medication. Finally, they found a note written in Warren Moore’s handwriting that read: “Michael – If a single pill is missing from the safe, don’t ever come back. You’ll never be welcomed again.” On September 4, 2009, Michael Moore was officially arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, and falsely reporting an incident to police. His bond was set at $250,000 and the decision was made that if convicted, Michael Moore could face the death penalty.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky VS Michael Moore

Opening statements were delivered on Thursday, September 5, 2013. Michael Moore’s defense was led by public defender Joanne Lynch, while the Commonwealth of Kentucky started things off with Assistant Jason Hiltz. Right when the defense started speaking, they shocked everyone. For four years now, Michael Moore had said an intruder killed his parents, but now he would claim that his father, Warren Moore, shot his mother Madge during an argument about the pain medications. He then shot Michael in the groin and Michael then shot his father in self-defense.

The Commonwealth, however, had a very different theory as to what happened that night. They claimed that on the day of the killing Michael Moore had lied to his parents about going to Atlanta to handle some business with his divorce. Instead, they said the defendant smoked crack cocaine in a motel all day until he went to his girlfriend’s house that evening. It was at his girlfriend’s house that Warren Moore saw Michael’s car and realized he had lied to them once again. In a panic, Michael Moore rushed home to try to calm his father down. From there, the Commonwealth said that only three people know what happened that fateful night and two of them are dead. It would be up to a jury made up of seven men and five women to decide if the Commonwealth of Kentucky had proven their case against Michael Moore beyond a reasonable doubt.

On Friday, September 20, 2013, Michael Moore took the stand in his own defense. He testified that on the night of the killings, he asked his mother for an Oxycontin, which he and his mother called “the good stuff.” Even though he had gotten a pill from his mother he still insisted on going to Warren Moore and asking for a pain pill to give to his mother. According to Michael, his father became enraged over Madge giving her pill to their son instead of taking it herself. “Dad said, ‘She shouldn’t have given you her bedtime pill. You two need to quit doing this (expletive). I’m sick of it,” Moore testified. Then he went to his room because he did not want to hear the arguing. All of sudden he heard “a loud pop.” He rushed out of his room in time to see his mother fall to the kitchen floor. As he looked around for his father, he heard another pop, looked down, and realized that Warren Moore had shot him in the groin. He then started trying to wrestle the gun away from his father. When he finally overpowered his 66-year-old father, he shot him twice in the head. When asked by the Commonwealth why he had lied for four years, Michael told the jury he didn’t want to tarnish his family’s reputation.


Closing arguments were set to begin Monday morning on September 23, 2013. The defense started out by saying that their client Michael Moore killed his father but sure didn’t kill his mother, while the Commonwealth called the defendant a drug addict and a liar. The prosecutor told the jury that to find him not guilty, first you would have to decide which of his stories was the truth. She held up a pill in front of the jury, and told them it’s amazing how something so small could mess things up so badly.

The jury began their deliberations right before 6 PM that evening. Some said they thought it would be a very quick verdict while others predicted it could take days. During the deliberations, the jury asked the judge three different questions. They wanted to view the murder weapon along with past testimony from the CSI agents, and they wanted to see Madge Moore’s autopsy pictures. Just after 9 PM Monday evening on September 23, 2013, a little more than three hours into deliberations, and more than four years after the deaths of Warren and Madge Moore, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all charges. Michael Moore didn’t show much emotion as the verdict was read. He even put his arms around one of his public defenders and asked if she was okay. The judge scheduled the sentencing for Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:00 AM. The Commonwealth of Kentucky are asking for the death penalty.

Gone But Not Forgotten

The city of Union Kentucky held a number of ceremonies to remember the man that served their city for almost three decades, and the woman that everyone said was the type of mother every child would want. A number of people stated that Warren Moore didn’t want to be viewed as someone that was special. He just wanted to be seen as a person that wanted to find ways to make the city he loved so much an even better place to live. Madge was remembered as a loving mother and avid gardener. They were the type of couple you looked up to. Since their murders, the Union City Building has been named after Warren Moore, while the beautiful garden at the building was named after Madge Moore. The majority of the people in the town all said the same thing. They said, “We don’t want people to remember Warren and Madge because of the way they died. They should be remembered for the way they lived.”

By: Heather Hefner

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