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NM gov. declines to pardon outlaw Billy the Kid

Dec 31, 2010 8:06:00 AM - thestate.com
Billy the Kid, the Old West outlaw who killed at least three lawmen and tried to cut a deal from jail with territorial authorities, won't be pardoned, Gov. Bill Richardson said Friday, nearly 130 years after the gunslinger's death.

The prospect of a pardon for the notorious frontier figure drew international attention to New Mexico, centering 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, Richardson said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America." 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.