Lawsuit Seeks DNA Evidence for 1881 Death of Billy the Kid

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An amateur historian and a newspaper publisher have filed a lawsuit against Lincoln County authorities they say are withholding public records about DNA evidence collected during an investigation into Billy the Kid's death in 1881.

As legend has it, the Kid, aka William Bonney, was shot by then-Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, but questions about his death persist with some claiming he lived to a ripe old age. They say Garrett shot the wrong man and covered it up.

In 2003, former Lincoln County Sheriff Tom Sullivan and former Deputy Steven Sederwall launched an investigation into the death to determine whether it really was the Kid who was shot by Garrett and buried at Fort Sumner.

Scot Stinnett, publisher of the De Baca County News, and Gale Cooper, a retired psychiatrist and amateur historian, say Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Virden has the duty under the Inspection of Public Records Act to obtain and produce records from that investigation, the Albuquerque Journal reported in a copyright story Thursday.

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