Fred Moore and Norman Thibodaux

Background

Fred Moore, 16, was lynched by a mob at Labadieville Bridge in Labadieville, Louisiana. On October 8, 1933, Anna Mae LaRose was found dead in a sugarcane field near Moore’s home. During LaRose’s funeral, LaRose’s stepfather accused Fred Moore of murdering and raping LaRose. Moore was arrested and brought to the Assumption Parish Jail on October 10. On October 11, the lynch mob kidnapped Moore from his jail cell using the keys from one of the deputies. The mob beat and hung Moore at Labadieville Bridge, where they left his body on display until the following day. LaRose’s stepfather later confessed to killing his own stepdaughter.

Legal Status

Louis and Lilly Moore, Fred Moore’s biological parents, filed suit against Sheriff Lezine H. Himel and United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company in the Eastern District Court of Louisiana for failing to prevent their son’s lynching. The plaintiffs requested $10000 in damages from the two defendants.
At the civil trial, two African-American witnesses and the Sheriff’s two deputies testified as to the events that occurred during the lynching. Ivy Leblanc recalled that Deputy Able Landry gave the cell keys to the mob. Norman Thibodaux recounted that Deputy Fednor Richard held down Moore’s body while the mob beat Moore’s corpse. Furthermore, Deputy Landry admitted that he had given the posse the keys to the cell and that he failed to contact the sheriff once Moore was removed from the prison.
The jury found the sheriff liable for Fred Moore’s death because of the deputies’ failure to notify the Sheriff. The jury awarded the family $2500 in damages. However, the plaintiffs had to file a second suit in state court in order to collect against United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company because it was dismissed as a party from the first suit. The parties ultimately settled the case for $2400.