View Full Version : Billy The Kid Poll

12-30-2010, 11:23 PM
What do we think the fate of young William Bonney should be?
Should he stay an outlaw in the history books?
Or does he deserve to be pardoned after all these years?


Billy The Kid Pardon?
by Kelly Burke | December 30, 2010

Outgoing New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has a tough decision to make before his term ends Friday night. Should he or shouldn't he pardon a notorious murderer? The fact that the murder happened in 1878 doesn't make the decision any easier. That's when Billy the Kid and a few others ambushed and gunned down Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady.

The Kid was eventually arrested, convicted and sentenced to hang for Brady's murder. While awaiting execution in a makeshift jail in the Lincoln County Courthouse, he killed the two Sheriff's deputies guarding him and escaped. The new Sheriff, Pat Garrett, caught up with him a few months later and shot him dead.

That much is undisputed fact. The rest gets murkier. Even Billy the Kid's real name is in dispute. Many historians believe it was William Henry Bonney. Others say it was Henry McCarty and still others have different theories.

Also in dispute is whether the Territorial Governor, Gen. Lew Wallace, had at some point promised to pardon the Kid for Brady's murder in return for testifying in a separate murder trial. Albuquerque Attorney Randi McGinn believes the pardon promise was indeed made. She petitioned Richardson for the Kid's pardon.

12-30-2010, 11:38 PM
At issue is that he was promised amnesty in return for testifying in the Lincoln Co War trials. The Kid kept his end of the bargain, but then the Governor went back on his word and had no intention of letting young Billy go.

I was always fascinated by this story as a kid. We used to have a house in Ruidoso NM and still go up there often. Lincoln is not far from there, and I've been through the old town and museums many times. At the courthouse the bullet holes are still there in the wall at the bottom of the stairs where the Kid escaped and shot a deputy in the process. I was always fascinated to stand there looking at those bullet holes (now under plexi-glass) thinking that bullet hole was made by Billy The Kid's gun. The courtroom is still sitting just like it was, upstairs in the courthouse with all the original furniture. If you like old west history it's a must see if you're ever near there.


In the Autumn of 1878, a former Union Army general, Lew Wallace, became Governor of the New Mexico Territory.[82] In an effort to restore peace to Lincoln County, Wallace proclaimed an amnesty for any man involved in the Lincoln County War who was not already under indictment.[82] McCarty, who had fled to Texas after his escape from McSween's house, was under indictment, but sent Wallace a letter requesting immunity in return for testifying in front of the Grand Jury.[83] In March 1879, Wallace and McCarty met in Lincoln County to discuss the possibility of a deal. McCarty greeted the governor with a revolver in one hand and a Winchester rifle in the other. After taking several days to consider Wallace's offer, McCarty agreed to testify in return for amnesty.[83]

The arrangement called for McCarty to submit to a token arrest and a short stay in jail until the conclusion of his courtroom testimony.[83] Although McCarty's testimony helped to indict John Dolan, the district attorney, one of the powerful "House" faction leaders, disregarded Wallace's order to set McCarty free after his testimony.[84] After the trial, McCarty and O'Folliard slipped away on horses that were supplied by friends.[85]

12-30-2010, 11:41 PM
Well, we can't very well give him the death penalty now, can we? Worse people have been pardoned I think.

12-30-2010, 11:53 PM
I'd give him the pardon for the death of Sheriff Brady.
He surrendered himself in good faith on that deal being upheld.
But the lad did then later shoot and kill two deputies while escaping.
But then again, had the Governor kept his word, those two deputies
might have lived, as there would have been no reason for the Kid to escape.

12-31-2010, 11:10 AM
String him up for what he did!

12-31-2010, 11:45 AM
It was just announced that Gov Richardson denied the pardon.

Story here. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/31/richardson-declines-pardon-outlaw-billy-kid/)

12-31-2010, 03:51 PM
String him up for what he did!

I'm in. Are you bringing the shovel?

12-31-2010, 03:53 PM
I saw the Brady Bunch episode, therefore I would have voted no on the pardon! :p

12-31-2010, 03:56 PM
Noper on the pardon.

12-31-2010, 04:06 PM
It was just announced that Gov Richardson denied the pardon.

Story here. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/31/richardson-declines-pardon-outlaw-billy-kid/)

Billy must be very disappointed.

12-31-2010, 04:11 PM
No pardon. Pardoning the dead seems pointless to me and he was a murderer.

12-31-2010, 04:29 PM
No pardon. Pardoning the dead seems pointless to me and he was a murderer.