Scholar Wants Death Certificate for Billy the Kid

Says it will end speculation about how the outlaw died
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2015 12:41 PM CST
Scholar Wants Death Certificate for Billy the Kid
This undated file ferrotype picture provided by the Lincoln County, N.M., Heritage Trust Archive is believed to depict William Bonney, also known as Billy the Kid, circa 1880.   (AP Photo/Lincoln County Heritage Trust Archive, File)

An academic is asking a New Mexico court to order a death certificate for Billy the Kid to settle questions about whether the infamous outlaw was actually killed in 1881. Robert J. Stahl, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University, says a death certificate would end tales that the Kid wasn't fatally shot by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner. Some claim that Garrett shot someone else, and that Billy took up ranching and farming or escaped to Texas, living under an assumed name.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Stahl filed a 29-page petition Wednesday in state District Court, one that lays out in great detail his case that Garrett did indeed kill Billy. Stahl had gone to the state office that registers births and deaths and was told he'd need a court order for a death certificate to be issued. No word yet on when a decision is due. (In 2013, a possible second photo of Billy the Kid emerged.)

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