Well, not too strange that he wouldn't be in the census - many folks were missed, and if he was on a cattle drive, it's entirely possible.
Evidently there were a number of well-to-do people in his corner, and petitioned the judge in the final trial to let him go, but this judge had a reputation for justice, and so sentenced him to the maximum for the crime as brought.
Too bad, but this kind of thing happened in the "old West" in the U.S.
He should have been out of prison by the late 1880's, but the 1890 census burned and we don't have that. I could not find him in 1900, either.
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