21 deaths later, Billy the kid to get pardon
Published 18/12/2010 | 05:00
Billy the Kid, the Wild West outlaw who is reputed to have killed 21 men and whose exploits have been widely chronicled in US popular culture, is under consideration for a pardon.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said yesterday he was reviewing a pardon petition based on the widespread belief that New Mexico territorial Governor Lew Wallace promised the 19th Century gunman a pardon in exchange for his testimony in a murder trial.
"As someone who is fascinated with New Mexico's rich history, I've always been intrigued by the story of Billy the Kid and, in particular, the alleged promise of a pardon he was given," Richardson said in a statement.
"I will diligently review this new petition and all the facts available regarding an agreement between Billy the Kid and Governor Wallace before rendering any decision," he said.
The two-term Democratic governor, who leaves office at the end of the month, asked historians and others to weigh in with their opinions on a website dedicated to the issue.
Sheriff Pat Garrett shot Billy the Kid to death at point-blank range in 1881.
Newspapers had already turned the young outlaw, whose real name was Henry McCarty, into a larger-than-life figure by the time of his death in his early 20s.
A book by Garrett transformed McCarty into a legendary figure of America's western frontier. He has since become the subject of many songs, films and books.