An academic is asking a New Mexico court to order a death certificate for Billy the Kid to settle questions about whether the infamous outlaw was actually killed in 1881.

Robert J. Stahl, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University, says a death certificate would end tales that the Kid wasn't fatally shot by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner.

Some claim Garrett shot someone else, and Billy took up ranching and farming or escaped to Texas, living under an assumed name.

The Santa Fe New Mexican (http://goo.gl/cWNldu ) reports that Stahl filed a petition Wednesday in state District Court.

Stahl had gone to the state office that registers births and deaths and was told he'd need a court order for a death certificate to be issued.