What Am I Missing Here?

4 comments October 23rd, 2006at 04:16pm Posted by Eli

Legalities aside, this AP story baffles me:

Prosecutors won’t seek charges against two men who exhumed the remains of a man who claimed to be the outlaw Billy the Kid.

Tom Sullivan, former sheriff of Lincoln County, N.M., and Steve Sederwall, former mayor of Capitan, N.M., dug up the bones of John Miller in May 2005. Miller was buried at the state-owned Pioneers’ Home Cemetery in Prescott nearly 70 years ago.

“It appears officials in charge of the facility gave permission and the people who were attempting to recover samples of the remains believed they had permission to do so,” said Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which made the decision not to seek charges.

Sullivan and Sederwall obtained DNA from Miller’s remains. The samples were sent to a Dallas lab to compare Miller’s DNA to blood traces taken from a bench that is believed to be the one Kid’s body was placed on after he was shot to death in 1881.

Sullivan and Sederwall have been hunting for the Kid’s bones since 2003.

They began their quest in Fort Sumner, N.M., where history says the Kid was buried after then-Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett gunned him down in 1881.

But at least two men — Miller and Ollie “Brushy Bill” Roberts of Texas — claimed prior to their deaths that they were Billy the Kid. Their stories presuppose that Garrett killed the wrong man and lied about it.

Let me see if I have this straight: Their theory is that Pat Garrett killed Not-Billy-The-Kid, and the real Billy The Kid escaped and lived to a ripe old age.

Okay, fine – I can handle that; I like a good “Elvis Lives!” yarn as much as the next guy. But what the hell does comparing their DNA to the guy Garrett shot actually prove, other than that Miller or “Brushy Bill” were not killed by Pat Garrett, which to me already seems pretty obvious? What’s the logic here?

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  • 1. Smartypants  |  October 23rd, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    I thought the story was that Garrett shot him but they buried another in his place and the Kid escaped.

    I will have to consult with Young Guns II to be sure.

    My WV is ‘Virco.’ Heh. So many possibilities with that one. = )

  • 2. geor3ge  |  October 24th, 2006 at 12:54 am

    Are you saying Billy Joel’s “Ballad of Billy the Kid” was a damned lie? Are you??

  • 3. Eli  |  October 24th, 2006 at 7:56 am

    I thought the story was that Garrett shot him but they buried another in his place and the Kid escaped.

    Well, that would make a lot more sense, if the blood on the bench is his. Maybe the writer was just clueless.

  • 4. Anonymous  |  January 6th, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    No offense, but armchair quarterbacking is no substitute for common sense. No one can get a complete accurate story out of Hollywood–save most documentaries. The truth is that Garrett’s book is full of inaccuracies that you can drive a truck through, but like anything else, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

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