although i don't condone this activity, we probably could stand a little more of it, that would make one think twice before commiting a crime, our first targets should be child molesters, rapist, women beaters, drug dealers, etc. etc. etc. worked well in the old west didn't it....i can tell you one thing, if someone raped, molested, or murdered my wife or one of my children, i would be laying in wait for their transfer from court to jail with a .308 sniper rifle in hand...
I saw it in this account of the original case.


I. William Thacker was hanged on 15 July 1903 by a lynch mob for killing John Gordon. He had previously been found guilty of the crime by two juries, the first at the initial trial and again at a second trial granted by the Court of Appeals. Below are transcriptions of both jury verdicts.

"Commonwealth of KY Verdict, Wm. J. Thacker, filed January 15, 1901, OB 32 - Page 294"
We the jury find the defendant Wm. J. Thacker guilty of murder in the first degree and fix his punishment at confinement in the penitentiary for life. John W Kelly - Forman" (sic)

"Commonwealth of KY Verdict, W. J. Thacker, Filed January 11, 1902, OB 52 - Page 590"
We the jury find the accused) W. J. Thacker guilty of murder and fix his penalty in the Penitenerary (sic) for life. T.A. Caywood - Foreman"

II. The appeal process:

Appeal filed on behalf of William Thacker subsequent to his first trial.

"Certificate of Appeal, Wm Thacker, Filed January 19, 1901.
THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY Court of Appeals. Wm Thacker, Appellant, vs. the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Appellee, Certificate of Appeal.

I, J.S. Shackelford, Clerk of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky, do certify that Wm. Thacker has this day taken an appeal in the manner and form prescribed by law, from a judgment of the Fleming Circuit Court, rendered at its January Term, 1901, in the case of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, plaintiff, against Wm. Thacker, defendent, for the confinement of the defendant in the State Penitentiary, at hard labor, for the period of his natural life; it is therefore ordered that the execution of said judgment be suspended. Witness my hand this 4th day of March, 1901. S. J. Shackelford, Clerk, C.A. by W. T. Havens, D.C."

Appeal of verdict granted on behalf of William Thacker after his first trial.

"Thacker Vs MANDATE Commonwealth of KY, lodged June 28, 1901; Filed Sept 16, 1901.
THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, The Court of Appeals, June 22, 1901. William Thacker, Appellant, Against Commonwealth of Kentucky, Appellee. Appeal from a judgment of the Flemming (sic) Circuit Court. The Court being sufficiently advised, it seems to hem the judgment herein is erroneous. It is threfore considered that said judgment be reversed and cause remanded for a new trial. Which is ordered to be certified to said Court ......S. J. Shackelford, C.C.A. by Robt. L. Greene, D.C. Issued June 22 1901."

Appeal of verdict granted on behalf of William Thacker after his second trial.

"Thacker Vs MANDATE Commonwealth, filed May 21, 1903, Fleming.
THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, The Court of Appeals, February 11, 1903. William Thacker, Appellant, Against Commonwealth, Appellee. Appeal from the judgment of the Fleming Circuit Court.

The Court being sufficiently advised, it seems to them the judgment herein is erroneous. It is therefore considered that said judgment be reversed and cause remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion herein.

Which is ordered to be certified to said Court: S. J. Shackelford, C.C.A.; by S.D. Hines, D.C.

Issued February 27, 1903"

III. Headlines and news account from the Stockton, California, EVENING MAIL of 15 July 1903:

"WHITE MAN LYNCHED BY KENTUCKY MOB"
"Had Been Given a Life Sentence for a Brutal Murder and It Was Feared He Would Get a New Trial"

(Received over the Mail's Leased Wire)

***********MAYSVILLE, KY., July 15 --- Enraged at the courts, a mob broke into the Flemingsburg jail early today and hanged William Thacker, a white man who had been given a life sentence for the murder of John Gordon two years ago. Thacker, in a quarrel with Gordon, shot and killed him, then sat on the body, rifle in hand, while he smoked his pipe and dared anyone to attempt to arrest him. At the time, Thacker escaped, but was later arrested. After two trials he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Gordon was a good citizen and an inoffensive man. After being sentenced Thacker applied to the Court of Appeals and was waiting for another trial. Thacker had some money and was able to command the support of some influential men, and it was feared that he might escape punishment altogether.

The mob collected at Mount Carmel, where Gordon once lived, and came into Flemingsburg by twos and threes in order not to arouse suspicion. They advanced upon the jail shortly after midnight. The jailer refused to surrender the keys. He was overpowered and the keys taken from him. Thacker was hurried to a tree near the jail and was given time in which to say his prayers, which he refused to do, but begged for his life. To hush his cries he was hit on the head with a rock, and his unconscious body strung up until life had become extinct.**************"

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