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Preview “The Sundance Kid in Chile: Boyds Will Be Boyds”

“The Sundance Kid in Chile: Boyds Will Be Boyds,” by Daniel Buck & Anne Meadows, which tells the never before published details of the murder of a policeman in Antofagasta in August 1905 by the famous American outlaw.  The article, based on a judicial file found by the authors in the National Archive of Chile and on long forgotten Chilean newspaper articles, will appear in the December 2022 Wild West History Association Journal.

The Sundance Kid, then using the alias Frank Boyd, fatally shot police officer Arturo Gonzalez during a disturbance outside an after-hours restaurant in Antofagasta’s red-light district. The story of Sundance’s prosecution, conviction, and flight from justice, the extraordinary assistance provided to him by US vice consul Frank D. Aller, and the controversial handling of the case by judge Luis A. Molina is a window into the turbulent history of early 1900s Antofagasta, then one of Chile’s most important ports.
Sundance’s case spent several years moving through the Chilean judicial system, during which time judge Molina was accused of serious misconduct, including sexual assault, forgery, drunkenness, and complicity in the Gonzalez murder itself. Antofagasta lawyer Primitivo Líbano Letelier, an apologist for the Santa María massacre, represented both Sundance in his murder case and the judge in his misconduct case, an extraordinary conflict of interest.
In another strange twist, by the time his conviction was finally upheld by an appeals court in 1909, Sundance had been a fugitive for several years and dead almost a year, killed in Bolivia alongside Butch Cassidy following a mine payroll holdup. The others implicated in the drama had better outcomes. Líbano was elected to Congress and Molina was elevated to the Court of Appeals in Santiago. As for Aller, he went on to coach football at the Colorado School of Mines.
Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows are the authors of The End of the Road: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Bolivia (2017) and Al Final del Camino: Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid en Bolivia (2016), and Meadows is the author of Digging Up Butch & Sundance (rev. ed. 2003). They live in Washington, DC.
Enjoy this read-out from their upcoming article:

A seismic example of the crime wave was a fatal shooting of a policeman
early the morning of Monday, 21 August, at the Universo restaurant on
Calle Maipú, corner of Calle 14 de Febrero, near the Plaza Sotomayor,
several blocks south of the town center. In the restaurant was “a
decently dressed man, of Yankee nationality, who in his manners and in
everything pretended to be a gentleman of good standing,” wrote El
Industrial later that same day. “He did not speak Spanish and
entertained himself conversing in English with” Carlos Lagreze. Around
4:30 a.m., a policeman entered and told owner Daniel Carmona he was in
violation of closing hours and had to cease serving liquor and food.
Carmona asked his customers to leave, which upset the Yankee and his
companion. The Yankee drew a revolver, threatening the officer. Another
policeman, Arturo Gonzalez, came on the scene and tried to arrest the
Yankee, who “fired a bullet at him at close range, killing him
instantly.” The Yankee fled.

Detectives interviewed witnesses at the scene and determined that the
Yankee was staying at the Gran Hotel Colón, a first-class establishment
in the center of town. After racing to the hotel, they caught the
assailant just as he was about to hire a carriage for Caleta Coloso, a
small nitrate port seven miles south of Antofagasta. At police
headquarters, he was questioned via an interpreter: “He said his name
was Frank Boyd Boyd; that he was a native of Pssylvania [sic], United
States, and was working as a commercial broker. He adamantly denied
being the perpetrator of the crime, despite the overwhelming evidence
against him. Finally, appearing to be annoyed by the questions being
asked, he stated that he would not answer any further questions until he
had a lawyer to defend him.” The police searched Boyd’s hotel room, no.
18 on the second floor, where they found “a suitcase with a carbine and
three bags full of rifle and revolver bullets.” They determined that he
had “recently arrived from North America.”

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