Lamar's Lynching of Lynch
Lynch made his escape but was recaptured in Colorado in late May and brought back to Lamar to stand trial for the murder of Sheriff Harlow. He was quickly convicted but sentenced only to life in prison because the Missouri legislature had recently passed a law banning the death penalty. Furious over Harlow's murder and the new law, a mob quickly gathered outside the courthouse where the sentence had been pronounced and soon broke in, took the prisoner from his guards, and strung him up to a tree on the courthouse grounds. Later in 1919, the law banning capital punishment was rescinded.
This incident had at least a couple of ironic twists to it. The obvious one was that the victim of the lynching was himself named Lynch. (The word "lynch," by the way, comes from a Revolutionary War colonel named Lynch who organized a group of vigilantes in Virginia after the war and went about the countryside meting out punishment to former Tories. At first, the term meant any extralegal punishment and only later came to refer specifically to vigilante execution, especially by hanging.) The other ironic twist to this episode was the fact that Lynch was hanged from a tree that his victim had planted on the courthouse grounds about twenty years earlier during his first term as sheriff.