Bill Richardson to deliver decision on Billy the Kid by New Year

Billy the Kid

Outgoing governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico will decide soon whether to pardon Billy the Kid. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Outgoing New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will make a decision by Dec. 31 on whether to pardon Billy the Kid. Billy the Kid has been dead for more than a century, but he was known to have killed several men at least. Some are unhappy with the prospect.

Decision on Billy the Kid due before uncorking New Year champagne

Governor Bill Richardson, of New Mexico, has been talking about a possible pardon for Billy the Kid for years, but he might be serious this time. He has promised he will render a decision Dec. 31, according to CNN. Since announcing his intention to think about it, Richardson and others in the New Mexico Governor’s office have been monitoring a website set up to gauge public response. Those surveyed are skewed toward granting Billy the Kid a pardon. By New Year’s Day, a Billy the Kid pardon will either have been granted or denied.

Opposition by Garrett family

The descendants of Pat Garrett, the sheriff who shot and killed Billy the Kid, are not fans of the idea of pardoning him. Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty and also went by William Bonney and Henry Antrim, killed at least four men, two of which were deputy sheriffs guarding him while he awaited a death sentence by hanging. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, he was promised a pardon from former New Mexico governor Lew Wallace for testimony against other participants in the Lincoln County War, a feud between rival dry goods store owners. Some say that because Wallace backed out of the deal, it has been owed since then.

Derision from incoming governor

Richardson’s term expires on Dec. 31, and the governor-elect, Susana Martinez, thinks the pardon is a waste of time. At the time, many people thought Pat Garrett had done the world a favor, especially those who were directly involved. Many people still romanticize figures such as Jesse James, though the victims likely had a much different take than popular culture.

Sources

CNN

Los Angeles Times

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