1881 After being transferred to the Lincoln County Courthouse, New Mexico Territory, following his murder trial, Billy the Kid kills Sheriff Pat Garrett's deputies James Bell and Bob Ollinger and makes his escape. Billy the Kid aka William Bonney aka Henry McCarthy aka Henry Antrim aka Kid Antrim View attachment 258603 Depending on what movie they watched or what crackpot book they've read the escape plays out the same differing in minute detail to give the storyteller the shine of some undiscovered nugget of western folklore that really is unknowable. Two men died, a bad guy got away. After his sentencing for the killing of Sheriff Brady during the Lincoln County War Bonney was moved to the Lincoln County Courthouse where upstairs he was kept in a cell wearing leg irons and under continuous armed guard. He was scheduled to hang May 13, 1881. View attachment 258605 the courthouse in the olden days the courthouse as it appears today In the evening of April 28, 1881 one of the guards, Deputy Bob Ollinger, took five prisoners across the street to the Wortley Hotel for their dinner. While they were gone Bonney requested to use the outhouse. On their way back up the stairs, ahead of Deputy Bell, Bonney hid around a blind corner and slipped out of one of his handcuffs. As Deputy Bell rounded the corner he was bludgeoned by the heavy cuff and lost his balance. Bonney was able to grab his gun and as the deputy turned to get away was shot twice killing him instantly. Officer Bell was 34 years old when he was killed, he had served as a Texas Ranger. I couldn't find any photos of him but it's said he had a large livid scar that ran from his mouth to his ear from a knife fight. Bonney, still in his leg irons, broke into Pat Garrett's office and took a loaded shotgun left behind by Deputy Ollinger. He positioned himself upstairs waiting for the deputy to come running in response to the gunshots. After killing the second deputy some reports claim Bonney spent anywhere up to an hour trying to remove the leg irons with an axe, somehow that don't sound right, given Garrett's office held all the keys you'd want, though if he was a total psycho, you never know. Officer Ollinger was about 31 years old when he was blasted to he!!. He was known as a "bully with a badge" and worse. He wasn't shy about killing people; there are three verifiable accounts of him shooting people dead over a poker game. During the Lincoln County War you find reports of him killing unarmed men. One very unpleasant episode is cited of him serving a warrant for unpaid taxes where he shot a man three times in the back right in front of the fellow's wife and children. Mind, I know I've portrayed Ollinger as the sort of man that needed killing, but that wasn't my intention. Many of these men of that time and place trod on both sides of the law. Pat Garrett, no choir boy himself, thought him a problem child, but just like today, politics played in it. I'm just telling the story as I know it from crackpot books, going to many of these places and talking to a number of western historical lore people who know a lot more than me, as they often times have reminded me. A long long time ago I cowboyed down in southern Arizona I'd get one day a week off. On that day I'd visit ranches out beyond yonder and search out and talk to the oldest person on the ranch. I had one standard question; "What do you remember your Momma telling you about Geronimo?" You'd be surprised by the stories you'd pick up.