On this day, April 9, in 1881, Billy the Kid was convicted of murdering the Lincoln County, N.M., sheriff and was sentenced to hang.
Born Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid earned the nickname after he shot and killed Sheriff William Brady, the man supposedly responsible for killing McCarty's boss, John Tunstall, a powerful cattle man who became the first casualty in a violent feud known as the Lincoln County War. The Kid went on the run for three years, committing several more murders until he was arrested by lawman Pat Garrett.
Billy was sentenced to hang, but he escaped three weeks later by murdering two guards.
Garrett tracked Billy to a ranch house, surprised the Kid in a darkened room and shot him dead.
-- Scott McCabe