Judge recovering from attack

Flashbacks and nightmares continue to haunt her, but former Judge Cinda Fox said last Wednesday that a courtroom attack on her life one year ago today has made her cherish all that she has.

"It cost me my career, but thankfully not my life," Fox, 52, said in an interview, talking publicly for the first time about what she remembers of those terrifying moments on March 4, 2009. "Every day we have is a gift."

Fox said she recalls an outburst from defendant David Paradiso's mother and dismissing the jury. With a glance, she noticed that Paradiso had backed up, which alarmed her. The sight of a bailiff nearby allayed her fear, she said.

Fox said she next turned and saw Paradiso standing right in front of her with a knife in one hand.

"All I could think was, 'Oh my God, he's going to kill me,' " she said. "It was the most terrifying moment of my life."Next came the attack. Paradiso was on top of her in the crowded courtroom full of jurors and courtroom observers.

"To feel the knife on my throat and to have him on top of me stabbing me, to have him shot in the head right above me, having his blood and tissues splattered all over me, having to step over his lifeless body to go to chambers -- I would not wish that experience on anyone," she said. "It was horrific."

Now retired on disability, Fox said she is having to rediscover the purpose of her life. Just a year ago, she woke up each morning and put on a suit, having reached full stride as a Superior Court judge.

Her days now are spent healing emotional scars. She suffered only minor physical injuries in the attack.

"It's so difficult to go through such a private thing in such a public manner," she said. "I think about it every day."