Slain trooper to be honored

PORT HENRY - A Moriah state trooper killed in the line of duty will be honored this weekend.

A remembrance ceremony for Trooper Ronald Donahue will be held Saturday, May 23, at 1 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus hall in Port Henry.

It will mark the 50th anniversary of Donahue's death.

New York State Police officials, a color guard and bagpipe band will join with family and others in remembering Donahue.

"Let's hope we have a good turn out," said Jimmy Brooks, retired town of Moriah judge, who has organized the tribute.

Donahue, who was born in Mineville and raised in Moriah Center, was shot and killed while making an arrest in Bombay May 23, 1959.

Donahue, who was age 23 and a trooper less than a year, was shot and killed after he and his partner attempted to arrest a group of men who were creating a disturbance outside a courthouse.

Donahue and his partner had arrested a suspect earlier in the day and brought him in front of a judge for arraignment. After the arraignment the suspect's friends created a disturbance outside of the courthouse.

When Donahue and his partner attempted to arrest the men a struggle ensued and one of the suspects gained control of Donahue's gun. The suspect shot and wounded Donahue's partner and shot and killed Donahue.

Donahue's partner was able to return fire and wound the suspect, who was then taken into custody.

The suspect was convicted of manslaughter on June 24, 1960. He received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for five years.

The Association of Former New York State Troopers charged that Franklin County court officials had grossly mishandled the case. The general public was outraged.

Donahue is one of 114 New York State Police to die in the line of duty.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of another Moriah trooper killed in the line of duty - John S. Kelly.

Kelly died Dec. 2, 1960, when his patrol car was struck by a train near Watertown.

"There have ben 114 (trooper) deaths since 1917 in the line of duty," Brooks observed. "Two of them are from Moriah. Our community had made quite a sacrifice."

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