Following his indictment for the murder of Sheriff Brady, Billy the Kid was the most wanted man in the West. Evading posses sent to capture him, he eventually struck a deal with the new governor of New Mexico: In return for his testimony against the perpetrators of the ongoing ranch wars in the state, Billy would be set free. Although he kept his word about the testimony, he began to distrust the promise that he would be released and so he escaped.
Once a fugitive, Billy killed a few more men, including the gunslinger Joe Grant, who had challenged him to a showdown. Legend has it that Billy managed to get a hold of Grant’s gun prior to the fight and made sure that an empty chamber was up first in the man’s revolver. When it came time to fire, only Billy’s gun went off and Grant was left dead.
Legendary Sheriff Pat Garrett finally brought Billy the Kid in to stand trial. The judge sentenced Billy the Kid to hang until “you are dead, dead, dead.” Billy reportedly responded, “And you can go to hell, hell, hell.” Two weeks before his scheduled execution, Billy escaped, killing two guards in the process.
Garrett mounted yet another posse to bring in the Kid. After tracing him to the Maxwell Ranch, Garrett shot him to death. No legal charges were brought against him since the killing was ruled a justifiable homicide.
– History.com Staff