Tuesday 28 February 2017

Billy the Kid still saddled with infamy after refusal of pardon

Samuel Fisher in Santa Fe

BILLY the Kid, the Old West outlaw who killed at least three lawmen, won't be pardoned, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said yesterday, nearly 130 years after the gunslinger's death.

The prospect of a pardon for the notorious frontier figure drew international attention to New Mexico, centring on whether Billy the Kid had been promised a pardon from New Mexico's territorial governor in return for testimony in killings he had witnessed.

But the facts of the case didn't support a pardon, Mr Richardson said yesterday. He had been formally petitioned to grant one.

The proposed pardon covered the 1878 killing of Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady. Billy the Kid was shot to death by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881, a few months after escaping from the jail.

According to legend, Billy the Kid killed 21 people, one for each year of his life. But the New Mexico Tourism Department puts the total closer to nine.

Mr Richardson, the former Democratic presidential candidate, waited until the last minute to announce his decision. His term ended on New Year's Eve. He decided against a pardon "because of a lack of conclusiveness and the historical ambiguity as to why Governor Wallace reneged on his promise"

Sheriff Pat Garrett's grandson JP Garrett and Wallace's great-grandson William Wallace expressed outrage over a pardon after Mr Richardson set up a website in mid-December to hear from the public. His office received 809 emails and letters, with 430 favouring a pardon and 379 opposed.

Irish Independent

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