The deadline is nearing for New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to decide if he will posthumously pardon Billy the Kid, the legendary outlaw of the American Wild West.
Richardson last day in office is Friday. It is also the deadline for granting such a pardon. Richardson said Wednesday that before he leaves office he would make a decision.
“I believe that requests of this nature must be fully vetted and investigated by the appropriate agencies to ensure that I do the right thing for those who request clemency as well as the citizens of New Mexico,” Richardson said.
Billy the Kid’s real name was William H. Bonney, although he also went by Henry McCarty and Henry Antrim. The legend has inspired countless movies and books.
One story goes that New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace, the author of “Ben Hur,” promised to pardon Bonney after Sheriff Pat Garrett gunned him down in 1881.
The pardon is said to be in association to many incidents including the murder of Sheriff William Brady. New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace promised a pardon for his testimony on the 1879 murder of attorney Huston Chapman.
Garrett’s grandchildren say granting such a pardon would essentially make Garrett out to be a thoughtless killer.
“We consider that an abomination as well as an inexcusable defamation of a great man,” said Jarvis Patrick and Susan Floyd Garrett.
Fans of Billy the Kid have been pushed for the pardon for years. They include Santa Rosa resident Elbert Garcia, who wrote a book to help prove he was the great-grandson of the notorious outlaw. There is no evidence, however, that Bill the Kid had any descendents.