When the corpse of Brooke Hart, a San Jose youth, was discovered in San Francisco Bay on November 26, 1933, a mob materialized to punish the alleged kidnappers and murderers, Thomas H. Thurmond and John Holmes. The lynchers rammed open the jail door, assaulted the guards, and dragged Holmes and Thurmond to St. James Park, beating them into near unconsciousness. Holmes's clothes were sheared from his body, and Thurmond's pants were drawn down to his ankles. A gathering of some six thousand spectators witnessed the hanging.

Governor James Rolph's doublespeak was typical of many lynching era politicians: "While the law should have been permitted to take its course, the people by their action have given notice to the entire world that in California kidnapping will not be tolerated."

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