No Pardon for Billy the Kid

New Mexico governor shoots down hopes and dreams of dead outlaw
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2010 10:43 AM CST

In a decision that’s sure to break the hearts of Old West nerds, Gov. Bill Richardson has declined to pardon Billy the Kid, after thinking about it just long and hard enough to boost tourism. In an announcement on ABC’s Good Morning America, the New Mexico governor said he was turning down the much-publicized pardon request “because of a lack of conclusiveness and the historical ambiguity as to why Governor Wallace reneged on his pardon.”

Legend has it that then-Governor Lew Wallace offered Billy a pardon in exchange for testimony, then reneged on the deal. Billy then escaped from jail, killing two deputies in the process—killings Richardson said he had to take into account. “It was a very close call,” he said. “I’ve been working on this for eight years. The romanticism appealed to me … but the facts and the evidence did not support it.” For more details on the case, click here. (More Billy the Kid stories.)

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