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quoted from www.wikipedia.com
Several of Smith's disaffected associates in Nauvoo joined together to publish a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor. Its first and only issue was published 7 June 1844. The paper was highly antagonistic towards Smith, expounding many beliefs critical of him, and outlining several grievances against him.
The publication of this material disturbed many of Nauvoo's citizens, and the city council, headed by Joseph Smith as a mayor, responded by passing an ordinance declaring the newspaper a public nuisance designed to promote violence against Smith and his followers . Under the council's new ordinance, Smith, as Nauvoo's mayor, in conjunction with the city council, ordered the city marshal to destroy the paper and the press on June 10, 1844.
This action was seen by many non-Mormons as illegal and Smith was accused of violating freedom of the press. Violent threats were made against Smith and the Mormon community. Charges were brought against Smith and he submitted to incarceration in Carthage, the Hancock County seat. Smith's brother, Hyrum, and eight of his associates including John Taylor and Willard Richards, accompanied him to the jail. The Governor of the state, Thomas Ford, had promised protection and a fair trial. All of Smith's associates left the jail, except Richards and Taylor. Those in jail were not held in the 1st floor jail cell because the jailer felt that that was unsafe, instead, they were held in the jailer's room on the 2nd floor.
Shortly after 5:00 p.m. on 27 June 1844, a mob of about 200 men stormed the jail, and went to where Joseph and his associates were imprisoned. Although they attempted to hold the doorway against the mob, the mobbers opened fire through the still-closed door. Joseph Smith had a six shooter and reportedly released a few rounds. Hyrum Smith died immediately, shot in the face. Taylor was shot several times, but survived. Richards was unharmed. Smith ran to the open window, where he was shot multiple times simultaneously, and fell from the window, dead. Upon falling to the ground, he was shot several more times.