Gambler Charles Cora had taken prostitute Arrabella Ryan as his mistress in San Francisco in 1855. U.S. Marshal William Richardson made an insulting comment about Ryan. An enraged Cora shot and killed the lawman on November 17. The killer was arrested, jailed and awaited trial. But the San Francisco Vigilance Committee took things into their own hands on May 22, 1856. They allowed Cora and Ryan to marry before lynching Cora (and another man) from the committee headquarters.