History Headlines December 29, 2010: After 130 years, will Billy the Kid finally get a governor’s pardon?


History Buzz


Source: CS Monitor, 12-29-10

Outgoing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is considering a pardon for celebrated outlaw Billy the Kid. An informal e-mail poll shows support. But time is running out.

Billy the Kid, upper right, is pictured in this tintype photo from the late 1870s. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico has posted a poll on his website asking if he should posthumously pardon the outlaw in exchange for testimony at an 1879 murder trial. AP

In 2000, Richardson assembled a team of scholars, including Mr. Hutton, to investigate competing claims to Billy the Kid’s identity. An effort to dig up the remains of a woman thought to be his mother for DNA sampling created a public outcry and Richardson abandoned the effort to concentrate on his presidential campaign.
He is returning to this issue just a few days from leaving office. Historians say documents show Billy the Kid was promised a pardon by Lew Wallace, then the state governor, in exchange for testimony the Kid gave against the three men who killed a one-armed lawyer during the Lincoln County wars….

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