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Billy the Kid 'to be pardoned'

world Updated: Jul 11, 2010 13:30 IST

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Billy the Kid was 19th century America's most infamous frontier outlaw who killed 21 men in Lincoln County War. Now, the Wild West's "Robin Hood" may get a posthumous pardon, 129 years after he was supposedly gunned down by Sheriff Pat Garrett, a media report said.

Experts and historians believe the outlaw may not have been the man who died in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881, in a shoot-out that has become part of frontier folklore and material for Hollywood producers.

Instead, many now believe Garrett, a lawman who is ranked alongside Wyatt Earp, accidentally killed the wrong man and lied to cover up his mistake.

On hearing reports of his death, it is thought the Kid, born Henry McCarty, but also known to have used the names Henry Antrim and William H Bonney, retired as a gunslinger and fled to Texas where he outlasted both world wars and died, at the ripe old age of 90, in 1950.

Now, the myth surrounding the gambler, cattle rustler and outlaw, who has no known family survivors, could be laid to rest at last as forensic experts want to exhume the body of the man buried in Hamilton under the assumed name of Ollie "Brushy Bill" Roberts, the Daily Express reported.

Above the grave is a monument that unequivocally identifies Roberts as Billy the Kid. And, if it proves to be accurate, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has pledged that he will grant a formal pardon to the fugitive of many names, the report said.

He said: "The evidence that will clinch this will be if genetic tests match samples from another grave in Silver City, New Mexico, we believe contains the body of Billy the Kid’s mother Catherine Antrim."