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

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

  1. John D.:
    Nothing cries justice llike an unruly mob with blood in their eyes…especially when someone they obviously cared something for gets whacked by some murderers.
    Frank Castle would certainly approve.

    Sadly Cali has swung too far in the opposite direction over the years.
    Now, they can’t even seem to JAIL anyone, let alone put anyone to death (when they deserve it).

    Good story.

    Roll safe out there.


    • It’s highly doubtful these guys would have succeeded with a insanity defense. And any court of the day would likely have sentenced them to death. But I guess the mob didn’t have enough faith in the justice system.


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