Correction: Billy the Kid-Sheriff storyMay 22, 2017 4:23pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In a story May 19 about a historical document related to the death of the former sheriff who is credited with killing Billy the Kid, The Associated Press, relying on information provided by Dona Ana County, erroneously reported the date of the coroner's jury report. The document is dated Feb. 29, 1908, not July 9, 1908.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Document details death of lawman who killed Billy the Kid

Officials in a southern New Mexico county say they have found a document inside a box of old records that sheds a little more on light on the death of the Old West lawman who gained fame for killing Billy the Kid

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A century-old document found inside a box of unarchived records in a southern New Mexico county is shedding a little more light on the shooting death of the Old West lawman who gained fame for killing Billy the Kid.

Dated Feb. 29, 1908, the nearly illegible handwritten coroner's jury report refers to the investigation of the death that day of Pat Garrett, who served as sheriff in Lincoln and Dona Ana counties before being appointed as a customs collector along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Historians have searched for years for additional official documents beyond court records and newspaper articles from the time that assigned blame for Garrett's shooting death since some have their own theories about who pulled the trigger.

Signed by several justices of the peace and coroners, the document states that Garrett was reported dead in Dona Ana County in the territory of New Mexico about five miles northeast of Las Cruces.

They found that "the deceased came to his death by gunshot wounds inflicted by one Wayne Brazel."

Some historians have said that the one witness to the shooting never testified and records show Brazel was acquitted after a one-day trial in which his attorney successfully argued self-defense.

The document was found in November by Angelica Valenzuela, the records and filing supervisor with the county clerk's office, as part of a preservation effort that involved records spanning the last half of the 1800s through the mid-1960s.

"She knew as soon as she saw it that it was worth gold," county spokesman Jess Williams said of the signed jury report.

Pointing to the discovery, the county is seeking additional grant funding for its work to preserve historical records and make them more accessible.

"Our goal is to provide full access to the public," said County Clerk Scott Krahling. "Since family roots run deep in Dona Ana County, our hope is that these documents enrich our stories and get more people excited about our history and culture."

For now, the document is locked away in a safety deposit box. The county is planning a public unveiling next month.

Arizona State University professor emeritus Robert Stahl is among those who have written in support of more preservation funding for the county.

"Once they are found, filed and made available, hundreds of historians, genealogists and just 'plain folk' will come from all over the world and spend millions of dollars each year to get their eyes on what you have," he wrote. "You are sitting on a gold mine in more ways than one."

Local historian Christopher Schurtz is among those who have combed through the county's records, which include everything from Old West files to the city of Las Cruces' original plat.

"As a historian, I believe the more that the people who hold these records make this stuff available and the more that is preserved, the better," Schurtz said.

As part of the effort, the clerk's office plans to institute one-hour, supervised appointments for people interested in viewing archived historical documents.

The most significant items uncovered during the archival process will be turned over to the state records center in Santa Fe for long-term preservation, officials said.

Thousands of documents still have to be reviewed, Krahling said.

"We know some of what we have, and it's pretty exciting," he said.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

FILE - In this July 7, 2016 file photo, Dallas police detain a driver after five police officers were shot in downtown Dallas.  More than a dozen states this year have passed “Blue Lives Matter” laws that come down even harder on crimes against law enforcement officers. The new laws came in reaction to a spike in deadly attacks on police last year. Some civil rights activists fear the measures could set back police-community relations.  (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
New 'Blue Lives Matter' laws raise concerns among activists
4 suspended in early release of man in deadly Ohio shootingsFour county workers in Ohio are being suspended for the early release of a domestic violence suspect who later killed three people, including a small town police chief
This image provided by the Virginia State Police shows law enforcement investigating the scene of a shooting early Saturday, May 27, 2017 in Richmond, Va.   Special Agent Michael T. Walter, a Virginia State Police special agent died Saturday after being shot by a man sitting in a car in Richmond, police said. The shooting suspect fled on foot, sparking an overnight manhunt that ended with the man’s arrest about an hour after the agent’s death.  Virginia State Police said in an emailed statement that Travis A. Ball of Richmond is being held without bond on charges that include malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony (Virginia State Police via AP)
The Latest: Slain agent leaves behind wife and 3 children
2 officers suffer minor injuries in South Carolina shootingAuthorities say two police officers are recovering from minor injuries after they were shot chasing a driver running from a traffic stop in South Carolina
Officials: Tennessee man dies in police shooting, car crashTennessee authorities say a man has died after he drove at police officers during a traffic stop, they shot at his car and he crashed
Police officer kills man at event center outside AtlantaAuthorities say a Georgia police officer shot and killed a man after they say he opened fire at an event center outside Atlanta
This component is currently unavailable.
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices