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No pardon for Billy the Kid, says outgoing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson

December 31, 2010 |  2:00 pm

Billythekid New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Friday shot down Billy the Kid's chances for a pardon. 

In front of a national audience on ABC's "Good Morning America," the Democratic governor, on his last day in office, said that the legendary outlaw would not be posthumously pardoned.

"I have decided not to pardon Billy the Kid because of a lack of conclusiveness, and also the historical ambiguity as to why Governor Wallace reneged on his pardon," Richardson said of the convicted murderer who in 1881 killed two guards as he escaped the gallows, only to be shot and killed that summer by Sheriff Pat Garrett in New Mexico.

"I felt I could not rewrite history," Richardson told the Associated Press after the broadcast about the man sometimes known as William H. Bonney, Henry Antrim or Henry McCarty.

Richardson, a former presidential candidate, launched a website in December asking for the public to chime in regarding a petition that had made its way to his desk. Of the responses, 430 e-mails and letters agreed that the gunslinger should be pardoned, while 379 were against the idea.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: This undated picture is believed to depict William Bonney, also known as Billy the Kid, in 1880. Credit: Associated Press /Lincoln County Heritage Trust Archive