Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid will not receive a posthumous pardon for killing a county sheriff in 1878, the governor of the US state of New Mexico has said.
Bill Richardson had been asked to pardon the infamous 19th Century bandit in order to fulfil a promise supposedly made in exchange for court testimony.
But Mr Richardson told US TV that Billy the Kid’s name – linked to as many as 27 murders – would not be cleared.
Billy the Kid was shot dead after escaping from jail in 1881, aged 21.
Albuquerque lawyer Randi McGinn recently began a campaign for his pardon, alleging that New Mexico’s territorial governor, Lew Wallace, had promised the outlaw a chance at freedom if he testified in a murder case against three men.
Bill Richardson, New Mexico’s current governor, leaves office at the end of 2010 and was asked to consider a pardon before he exits the governor’s mansion.
However, Mr Richardson said he decided against a pardon “because of a lack of conclusiveness and the historical ambiguity as to why Gov Wallace reneged on his promise”.