​Billy The Kid Officially Dead: Historian Files Billy The Kid Petition For Official Date

Author: Kara GilmourBy:
Staff Reporter
Mar. 1, 2015

Billy the Kid will be officially dead soon after an Arizona historian filed a petition at a district court in Fort Sumner. Robert Stahl wants to make the death date official to settle questions about when the infamous outlaw died, according to The Inquisitr. Billy the Kid was actually killed in 1881.

Stahl believes that Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett shot and killed the notorious bandit, who had escaped from the Lincoln County Jail in New Mexico, in the morning of July 15, 1881, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, the ABC News reported.

Billy the Kid Meets Sheriff Pat Garrett

As midnight approached on the night of July 14, 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett’s posse closed in on the most wanted man in the West. After three months of searching, the Lincoln County sheriff had received a tip that the gunslinger who had escaped jail-as well as a date with the noose-was holed up in the small town of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Seeking information on the fugitive’s whereabouts from one of Fort Sumner’s leading citizens, Garrett entered the open door of Peter Maxwell’s residence like a cooling breeze on the hot summer night. Just moments after the sheriff roused Maxwell from his slumber to ask about the outlaw, another figure appeared in the doorway of the unlit room with a six-shooter in one hand and a butcher knife in another.

“That’s him,” Maxwell whispered. As the shadowy figure in the doorway spotted Garrett’s outline, he drew his gun and yelled in Spanish: “Who’s that? Who’s that?” Instantly recognizing the fugitive’s voice, the sheriff fired his revolver as a bright flash lit up the bedroom. The bullet pierced the heart of the wanted man, and when Garrett’s posse entered the room, the flicker of their candlelight fell upon the body of William H. Bonney-better known as “Billy the Kid.”

In spite of eyewitness testimony and official records, rumors have persisted that the famous gunslinger Billy the Kid was not killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881 but escaped to live a long life, according to ABC News. Fed up with the doubts about Billy the Kid’s demise, an historian has petitioned a New Mexico court to create a death certificate for the notorious outlaw.

Petition To Officially Mark Death Date

In the 29-page petition, Stahl requests that the state of New Mexico issue a death certificate acknowledging July 15, 2021 as the death date and Garrett as the shooter.

Stahl said that by issuing a death certificate, especially with overwhelming evidence that he did in fact die, it would mean all of these people who are impostors couldn’t have been Billy the Kid, because he died at about 12:30 a.m. on July 15, 1881.

Stahl added that there is overwhelming evidence as too many people saw the body with the bullet and the coroner’s jury report not only identified the body as being that of Billy the Kid, but that he was shot by Pat Garrett.

Others claim that the outlaw didn’t die at the hand of the sheriff and instead lived to be an old man and several people over the years have claimed to be Billy the Kid, but as per Stahl, the state only didn’t officially recognize the Kid died because they didn’t create a death certificate.

Infamous Outlaw Dead In Report

He noted that death certificates should be issued when somebody died and the fact is, in territorial New Mexico at the time, death certificates were rarely issued and especially in rural areas. They do know that Billy was killed because there is an official coroner’s report, but even with that report, it was not a common practice to go and create a death certificate, notes Canada Journal.

A New Mexico judge is expected to schedule a hearing soon to make a decision if Billy the Kid is officially dead.

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