Coroners Jury Report
In 1951 within a year of Brushy Bill Roberts death, a man by the name of Maurice G. Fulton came forward with what is suppose to be a copy of the original Coroner’s Jury Report on the death of William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid. Although there is no official record of this Coroner’s Jury Report on file with any agency or office of the State of New Mexico, some people have just accepted it as authentic. Fulton claimed that the report was found by the land commissioner James F. Hinkle. There is and never has been an original of this document filed or on file anywhere. In fact no one knows exactly where the original is.
The facts in this case are simple. This was the beginning of people who worked for the tourist industry of New Mexico telling lies to try to discredit Brushy Bill Roberts. There was also reported to be a second Coroner’s Jury report out there signed by a whole different group of people. This claim was made by A. P. "Paco" Anaya, in his book “I Buried Billy,” No original of this document has ever been found either. Mr. Fulton had been the custodian for the Lincoln County Museum and a researcher for the Old Lincoln County Memorial Commission. Mr. Hinkle worked for the State of New Mexico. Both had financial ties to the tourism industry in New Mexico, and Both believed that for Brushy to be Billy the Kid would hurt tourism badly. Sadly they decided that a lie was better that the truth. This is why they put forth a phony document as real.
The following is a copy of the phony document as written in Spanish.
This is the translation in English
Territory of New Mexico
County of San Miguel Precinct No.27
To the District Attorney of the First Judicial District of the Territory of New Mexico.
On this 15th day of July, A.D. 1881, I, the undersigned, Justice of the Peace of the above named precinct, received information that a murder had taken place a Fort Sumner, in said precinct, and immediately upon receiving said information I proceeded to the said place and named Milnor Rudulph, Jose Silva, Antonio Savedra, Pedro Antonio Lucero, Lorenzo Jaramillo and Sabal Gutierres a jury to investigate the case and the above jury convened at the home of Luz B. Maxwell and proceeded to a room in said in said house where they found the body of William Bonney alias "Kid" with a shot on the left breast and having examined the body they examined the evidence of Pedro Maxwell, which evidence is as follows: "I being in my bed in my room, at about midnight on the 14th day of July, Pat F. Garrett came into my room and sat at the end of my bed to converse with me. A short while after Garrett had sat down William Bonney came in and got close to my bed with a gun in his hand and asked me "Who is it? Who Is It?" and then Pat F. Garrett fired two shots at the said William Bonney and the said William Bonney fell near my fire place and I went out of the room and when I came in again in about three or four minutes after the shots the said William Bonney was dead." The jury has found the following verdict: We of the jury unanimously find that William Bonney has been killed by a shot on the left breast near the region of the heart, the same having been fired with a gun in the hand of Pat F. Garrett and our verdict is that the deed of said Garrett was justifiable homicide and we are unanimous in the opinion that the gratitude of all the community is due to the said Garrett for his deed and is worthy of being rewarded.
M. Rudulph President
Pedro Anto. Lucero
Jose X Silba
Sabal X Gutierrez
Lorenzo X Jaramillo
All said information I place to your knowledge.
Alejandro Segura Justice of the Peace.
The problems with the Ruludph Coroner’s Jury Report are as follows. There were witnesses who said that the Body of the man Pat Garrett Killed that night was removed to the carpenters shop and placed on a workbench to be cleaned by the women of the town. If this is true then how could the Coroners Jury have viewed the body in Pete Maxwell’s bedroom the following day? The report is written entirely in Spanish except for when it quotes the words the man that was killed said. There the words “Who is it? Who is it?” appears written in English. By all accounts by witnesses the words that were spoken by him were “Quien es? Quien es?” Even if it had been Billy who entered the room, he would not have spoken to Pete in English. The State of New Mexico does not even recognize this Coroner’s Jury report as being authentic. One last note (and I’m sure there are more), Justice of the Peace Alejandro Segura does not make note any where in his records of the death of Billy the Kid or William Bonney. For a Justice of the Peace not to have recorded it in his records would have been unheard of, even back then.