Fact Check

Was a Man Freed After Outliving a 99-Year Prison Sentence for Horse Theft?

We're still waiting for someone to live out the entirety of a 99-year prison sentence.

Published Jul 19, 2018

A man was released from jail in Texas after outliving his 99-year prison sentence for horse theft.

On 15 July 2018, the World News Daily Report (WNDR) published an article about a 117-year-old man named Henry William Borne, who was supposedly released from a prison in Texas after he outlived his 99-year sentence for horse theft:

A 117-year old man from Texas was liberated from prison this morning after outliving a 99-year sentence, becoming the first prisoner to do so in the history of the United States.

Grandson of one the most famous horse thief in American history, Henry William Borne was arrested by the Texas Rangers in 1919 for being part of in an important horse-stealing ring.

His father, Henry Borne Jr., was hanged in Fort Worth alongside one of their accomplices, Mark Thompson, on March 16, 1920.

This is not a genuine news report, as it originated with WNDR a junk news site that does not publish factual stories, and carries a disclaimer noting that all of its content is "fictional" in nature.

The first image used in the article, purportedly a picture of recently released convict Henry William Borne standing outside of the Texas prison, is actually a composite made from three different images: A stock image of an "older man with a headache or fever," a photograph of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Central Prison Unit in Sugar Land, Texas, and an unidentified image of news microphones:

The image of the hanging is real, but it has nothing to do with Texas, an old prison inmate, or horse thieves. This photograph was taken in the early 1900s and was featured on a post card produced by the Brisley Drug Company in Prescott, Arizona. The photograph was originally captioned "Adios Amigos" and showed two Mexican men who were lynched after they reportedly murdered two people in a cafe in Prescott, Arizona:

Goddard Station was a popular stagecoach stop between Phoenix and Prescott and on February 1, 1903 two heavy-set Mexicans came into the little ranch-cafe asked to be fed but immediately drew their guns and murdered Charles E. Goddard, the proprietor and his clerk Frank Cox in front of his wife Rosa and Milton Turnbull, a friend. The story of how they fled to Mexico and how they were captured (without the niceties of extradition) is one of the most fascinating in Arizona History. They were brought to trail in June 1903 and unlike James Parker the legendary murdered and bad man who had appeals lasting for years, they were tried and on July 31 and hung. Their final words before being hung were "Adios!" Those who have studied the hanging have concluded their apparently were sufficient witnesses but the short path from trial to execution would not have been the case had the victims been white. The local journal Arizona Miner wrote: "When the guards compelled them to take a bath last night, they showed more signs of real suffering than at any previous time since they had been in jail." A very nice copy in heavy protective envelope.


Alcuin Books.   "Hand Colored Postcard of Execution of Mexican Murderers, Prescott, Arizona, 1904."     Retrieved 19 July 2018.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.