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U.S. governor's Billy the Kid pardon proposal sparks fury

By Nairita Das

London, Dec 24 (ANI): A U.S. governor has sparked fury after he said that he is considering an official pardon for Billy the Kid-the man who apparently killed 21 men.

Henry McCarty, better known as Billy the Kid, could have his name cleared after 130 years after a poll set up by New Mexico governor Bill Richardson hinted at support for the move.

He plans to make a decision before his term ends on December 31.

"I don't know where I'll end up. I might not pardon him, but then I might," the Daily Mail quoted Richardson as saying.

And, descendants of Old West lawman Pat Garrett and New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace are furious about the proposal.

They have said that Wallace never offered a pardon in exchange for testimony against other criminals and claimed the petition is tainted because it comes from a lawyer with ties to Richardson.

The issue revolves on whether Wallace, governor of the territory from 1878 to 1881, promised a pardon in return for the Kid's testimony in a murder case against three men.

J.P. Garrett, of Albuquerque, who with other Garrett descendants met with Richardson in August to oppose a pardon, said there's no proof Wallace offered one - and he may have tricked the Kid into testifying.

Sheriff Garrett shot Billy the Kid to death in July 1881.

Garrett said he wanted to see written evidence of the promise cited by Albuquerque attorney Randi McGinn, who submitted a petition for a pardon last week after reviewing historical documents.

The Kid wrote Wallace in 1879, volunteering to testify in the murder case if Wallace would annul pending charges against him, including a murder indictment in the 1878 shooting death of Sheriff William Brady.

McGinn said Wallace told the Kid he had the authority 'to exempt you from prosecution if you will testify to what you say you know'.

He told Witt that when the Kid was awaiting trial in Brady's killing, 'he wrote four letters for aid, but never used the word pardon'.

He noted McGinn is married to Charles Daniels, whom Richardson appointed to the state Supreme Court. William Wallace said she has 'meager qualifications' and a possible conflict of interest.

Garrett said the action has suggested it's a facade to allow Richardson to grant 'illegal pardon'.

McGinn said her only tie to the administration is that she volunteered to look into the issue for free, knowing Richardson's interest. She said he told her 'he wasn't promising anything'.

Her pardon request focuses on Brady's killing, and not on two deputies the Kid killed when he escaped from jail in April 1881 after being sentenced to hang for shooting Brady. (ANI)

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