(SANTA FE, N.M.) -- 2010 was a year of pardons: from two Mississippi sisters paroled in exchange for one donating a kidney to another, to rock singer Jim Morrison, to a lucky turkey that received a presidential pardon at Thanksgiving. But one American legend who narrowly escaped redemption was Billy the Kid.
"I've decided not to pardon Billy the Kid because of a lack of conclusiveness and the historical ambiguity as to why Governor Wallace reneged on his pardon," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told ABC News Friday.
As legend has it, Gov. Lee Wallace made a promise to Billy to grant him amnesty if he testified before a grand jury about another murder case in Lincoln County. Billy the Kid was in jail at the time for having killed then-Sheriff William Brady.
Wallace reneged on his agreement to pardon Billy the Kid.
In 2003, Richardson, a history buff, first said that he would consider pardoning the famous outlaw. He finally made up his mind Friday.
"It was a very close call. I've been working on this for eight years. The romanticism appealed to me to issue a pardon, but the facts and the evidence did not support it and I've got to be responsible especially when a governor is issuing pardons," Richardson said.
Richardson said that Billy the Kid's decision to continue to murder after the pardon wasn't granted to him impacted his decision.
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