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Judge: Gunfighter’s Remains Will Stay Put

February 20, 1996 GMT

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ John Wesley Hardin, a fugitive for much of his life, will roam no more.

State District Judge Kathleen Olivares ruled Monday that the gunfighter’s body should remain at El Paso’s Concordia Cemetery, where Hardin was buried in 1895 after being gunned down in an El Paso saloon.

Some of Hardin’s descendants wanted to move his remains hundreds of miles away to Nixon, east of San Antonio, where he lived briefly and where his first wife is buried.

But the Concordia Heritage Association, a historical group, sued to keep Hardin in El Paso, arguing among other things that removing the body would harm the historic cemetery. Other Hardin descendants also opposed the move.

Olivares said that after 100 years there is no compelling reason to dig up the remains. And she said exhuming Hardin could cause irreparable harm to surrounding graves.

Hardin’s descendants probably will appeal, said family lawyer Gene Stevens, a great-great-grandson of the gunslinger.

Hardin, who put 30 notches on his pistol, spent a large part of his life as a fugitive in Texas, Florida and Alabama, or in prison.

He killed his first man at 15 and was said to have put away seven men by the time he was 17. But he maintained he never killed anyone that didn’t need killing and always shot to save his life.

Hardin was killed at age 42 in the Acme Saloon by Constable John Selman, with whom he had argued.