After fleeing Maxwin’s burning house, the Regulators took refuge in Fort Sumner, Mexico. Once upon a time there was an army fort on the site of a village, but the soldiers had long left it. But now Billy had many friends there, and almost every evening he spent, having fun and flirting with black-haired beauties.
In Lincoln County, life was slowly getting better. Mrs. Maxwin sued James Dolan and Colonel Dudley, accusing them of killing her husband and setting fire to property. Houston Chapman, one-armed lawyer, took up her interests. New Mexico’s new governor, Lou Wallace, has granted amnesty to all county residents who participated in the recent war, hoping that this will help the parties quickly forget the old feuds. It turned out that Billy Kid, not being a resident of the county, did not fall under the amnesty, being considered a mercenary who did not have personal interests in the conflict. Now he has formed too many enemies in the person of representatives of the law and former opponents to feel calm. He decided to agree to start with at least one of the parties.
Billy went with his friend Tom O’Follard to meet with Jesse Evans and James Dolan in Lincoln. Ivanes first cast curses on the head of the former enemy and wanted to shoot him on the spot, but then calmed down. The parties managed to agree by agreeing to the following conditions: no one recalls the previous hostility; no one takes revenge; no one testifies in court against their former enemies; everyone is obliged to help the other escape from the prosecution of the law; anyone who violates these rules will be killed. The agreement was shaken with a handshake, after which the whole crowd went into the saloon to drink whiskey and celebrate reconciliation. When after some time new friends poured into the street to inhale a breath of fresh air on their way to the next saloon, they caught the eye of one-armed lawyer Mrs. Maxwin. Houston Chapman spotted his enemies, but it was too late. They surrounded him, began to threaten him. William Campbell grabbed the revolver and sent it to the lawyer’s chest. Billy, sensing that the case could end in shooting, tried to leave, but Ivanes blocked his path. After all, now they were friends, and friends should have fun together! Dolan looked at Chapman with hatred for a few seconds, and then decided that it was time for Chapman to stretch his arms and dance to everyone for fun. He pulled the revolver out of the holster and shot the lawyer under his feet … At the sound of the shot, Campbell’s finger mechanically pressed the trigger. Chapman died immediately, but this did not seem enough to the crowd. Someone pulled an unfinished bottle over the corpse, pouring whiskey on it. A match struck, alcohol flared up.
“Merry bonfire,” one of the bandits muttered through his teeth, spitting on the burning corpse of the hated lawyer.
Now you could have a bite. They drank whiskey again and ate oysters when Dolan suddenly remembered that it would be nice to put a revolver in the dead Chapman’s hand, so that later their actions would be recognized as self-defense. Unbelievable! Did Dolan really expect that one of the judges would believe in his version of what happened – the one-armed lawyer rushes into the crowd of drunken but pious thugs with a revolver, and only under the pressure of circumstances they are forced to shoot back! It seems that even the most stupid judge would have seen a trick in this matter, but Dolan and Ivens in Lincoln had too many friends for the judge to allow himself to doubt the veracity of such a story.
Billy and O’Follard volunteered to help Dolan, but, being on the street, jumped on their horses and rode out of town. Billy Kid understood that Dolan, taking advantage of the opportunity, set him up and they would probably accuse him of murder. He had no doubt that there would be witnesses. But Billy no longer wanted to hide from the law, still hoping to start a new life. And then he wrote a letter to Governor Wallace, in which he promised to testify against the murderers of Chapman in exchange for a pardon for past sins. Wallace by that time had already arrived in Lincoln to personally sort out the tragedy that had happened. He agreed to the terms of the “famous bandit” Billy Kid, inviting him to meet. “If you could trust Jesse Ivens,” Wallace summed up his letter, “you can trust me.”
They met on March 17, 1879 in Lincoln, and Billy told the governor everything he knew without hiding. A few days later, he surrendered with O’Follard. Before that, Billy sent another letter to the governor in which he explained how best to arrange his arrest so that Ivanes and Campbell could not kill him.