Did Pat Garrett Shoot the Wrong Man? Hunt Is on for Billy the Kid's DNA
Gumbel, Andrew, The Independent (London, England)
ON THE night of 13 July 1881, Pat Garrett traced the outlaw Billy the Kid to a ranch in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and shot him through the heart.
Or did he? The question - challenging one of the great legends of the Old West - has scarcely gone away in 120 years. Pat Garrett shot the wrong man and then orchestrated a cover-up, goes one theory. Billy the Kid ran away to England and died there an old man, goes another. And now the state of New Mexico itself is getting in on the act.
Governor Bill Richardson announced yesterday that state prosecutors and police would volunteer their services to reopen the case. The national laboratories at Los Alamos and Sandia - which could use some good publicity following various recent security fiascos - will carry out ballistics research and forensic science analysis including DNA testing.
The governor's office said: "Billy the Kid is part of New Mexico history and a legend that is still, over 100 years later, filled with mystery and intrigue. It is time to support Lincoln County law enforcement and to put modern forensic science to the test to answer the questions surrounding those days in New Mexico history."
The tale of Billy the Kid is heavily bound up in the Lincoln County wars, the seminal Wild West struggle for control of territory that was fought with shotguns and pistols, and frequently compromised both the authority and integrity of law enforcement authorities. The Kid, born Henry McCarty and sometimes known as William H Bonney, made himself famous by shooting the Lincoln County sheriff, William Brady. Then, while awaiting death by hanging, …
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Publication information: Article title: Did Pat Garrett Shoot the Wrong Man? Hunt Is on for Billy the Kid's DNA. Contributors: Gumbel, Andrew - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 11, 2003. Page number: 12. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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