Butch Cassidy imposter exposed

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 16 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

Pointer then researched Wilcox's genealogy and compared it to Phillips. Phillips appears out of nowhere with a marriage in Michigan on May 14, 1908. On that record, Phillips is listed as the son of Celia Mudge. Pointer discovered that Wilcox's mother was Celia's sister Flora. "Everything about Wilcox was fitting Phillips' story," Pointer said.

Both Wilcox and Cassidy were in prison at the same time.

Wilcox got out of prison in December 1895. Cassidy was released the next month. They both went to near Lander, Wyo.

Pointer learned about an old sheepherder named James Regan. Regan said Phillips was not Cassidy, because he saw the two of them when they were living in a cabin near his sheep camp. This fit other things in "Bandit Invincible."

By the end of 1896, Wilcox was back in custody and this time a photograph was taken.

"After I saw the photographs, I could absolutely no longer be in any denial," Pointer said. "It's tough for me because 40 years ago I put my heart and soul into this. But if you don't have any integrity, you don't have anything. And honestly, I can't deny that this is the same man. William T. Wilcox and William T. Phillips are the same man."

Pointer said that Lula Parker Betenson, Cassidy's sister, told Pointer years ago that Cassidy died in Spokane in 1937, but he was not Phillips. "I guess this lays to rest one set of controversies and opens a whole new window," Pointer said. "Who was that guy Cassidy? What happened to Parker?"

Ashworth isn't disappointed that the manuscript he discovered knocked down Pointer's original theories. He thinks that the book written by Cassidy's friend Phillips provides strong evidence that Cassidy survived the ambush in South America and may have moved near Phillips in Spokane. "I thought the manuscript was going to lead to Butch," Ashworth said, and then added, "But it may eventually lead to Butch."

Pointer is also optimistic the manuscript by Wilcox aka Phillips will lead to Parker aka Cassidy.

"This is exciting and this is going to lead us forward in new ways that never would have been possible if not for Brent Ashworth's discovery of the expanded 'Bandit Invincible,'" Pointer said. "Maybe out somewhere in Washington is an answer, and we sure are going to chase it."

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com

TWITTER: degroote

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