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The Controversy

There have been many debates, stories, and opinions fostered over the years. Several men stepped forward claiming to be Billy the Kid, stating that Pat Garrett did not shoot and kill the Kid that dark night over a hundred years ago. 


In 1948, probate investigator William V. Morrison went to Florida to clear up an inheritance dispute of a man named Joe Hines. During the interviews, it was determined that Joe Hines was Jesse Evans, a Lincoln County War survivor and an old acquaintance of Billy the Kid. Evans told Morrison that Billy the Kid was not shot by Garrett: the Kid was alive and living in Hamilton County, Texas, as Ollie L. "Brushy Bill" Roberts. 


In June 1949, Morrison visited Brushy Bill. Brushy Bill said he was born William Henry Roberts on December 11, 1859, in Buffalo Gap, Texas. He took the name of his cousin Ollie Roberts after his cousin died. Brushy Bill admitted that he was Billy because he wanted to pursue the pardon Governor Wallace had promised him in 1879, and be pardoned for his crimes before he died. 


On November 15, 1950. Morrison filed for the petition for the pardon promised Billy in 1879.  Thomas J. Mabry, the current governor agreed to a private hearing to be held on November 29th with Morrison, Brushy Bill, and two historians of the Governor's choosing in attendance. The pardon was denied. 


In 2003, Lincoln County, New Mexico officials petitioned to exhume the bodies of the Kid and Brushy Bill as well as the Kid's mother Catherine Antrim for DNA testing. 

In September 2004, exhumations were blocked. A flood that occurred decades ago washed away the New Mexico grave.  Ollie "Brushy Bill" Roberts is buried in Hamilton, Texas. 


Without DNA there is little chance that the truth will ever be known.

Was he shot in New Mexico?

There are many reasons to believe that Garrett did not shoot and kill Billy the Kid in July, 1881.  John W. Poe, a deputy U.S. Marshall and a deputy sheriff in the panhandle of Texas was employed by the Canadian River Cattle Association to help put an end to the cattle rustling. He coordinated his efforts with Pat Garrett.  Regarding the shooting of Billy the Kid, Poe has been quoted as saying, "I had felt almost certain that someone whom we did not want had been killed".

Dan Garrett, Pat Garrett's grandson, (see photo to the right) said his grandfather never killed Billy the Kid. Dan visited the museum here in Hico, Texas.

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