this day in crime history: november 26, 1933


On this date in 1933, the people of San Jose, CA decided to take the law into their own hands. Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes were being held in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 22 year old department store heir Brooke Hart. The townsfolk, already enraged by the nature of the crime, whipped themselves into a frenzy when rumor spread that the two men were going to try an insanity defense. On the night of November 26th, they stormed the jail, broke down the door, and took the two men. The crowd brought them to a nearby park, where they hung each man from a tree. No one was ever prosecuted for the lynching. In fact, California Governor James Rolph, who had refused the Sheriff’s request for National Guard troops to hold off the mob, praised the action and promised to pardon anyone charged with the lynching.

Further reading:

Wikipedia: Brooke Hart

truTV: Brooke Hart

San Jose PBA: The Hart Murder and Lynching

4 thoughts on “this day in crime history: november 26, 1933

    • Mob justice is tempting in a world where the court system seems to be failing us, but sooner or later, the wrong person gets punished. Or the right person gets punished excessively. Better to suffer with a flawed system than to surrender to the mob.

      Like

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