IDAHO, US : The case of a notorious 1896 Wild West killing may have been solved after an amateur historian found a bullet fired in the shoot out more than 100 years later - and matched it to the gun of one of the men pardoned for the the crime. Mormon sheepherders David Cummins, 22, and John Wilson, 25, were gunned down as they camped in South Hills Idaho during a bitter battle between the herders and local ranchers.

The prime suspect in the shooting that rocked the state of Idaho was local gunman 'Diamondfield Jack' Davis - who was convicted of the crime and faced the hangman seven times before finally being pardoned. Eventually two cattle company employees confessed to the crime - and claimed they acted in self defense.

Now a bullet fired by one of the gummen more than 100 years ago has been found - and even matched to the gun that fired it in a piece of CSI-style detective work.  The re-examination of the case began with local lawmaker Max Black's interest 'Diamondfield Jack' Davis - a notorious Idaho outlaw.

Davis, a loudmouth local character, was employed by the massive Sparks Harrell Cattle Co. to keep sheepherders off the company's land by harassing and threatening them. A previous confrontation that resulted in the wounding of a sheepherder by Davis made him the prime suspect in Cummins and Wilson's deaths.–MN

Davis was convicted and sentenced to death, but managed to escape the hangman's noose seven times with the help of his lawyer, James Hawley, until in 1902, he was finally pardoned when two other Sparks Harrell employees confessed to the crime.

Speaking to the Idaho Statesman, Black said, 'My search in history is to find places,' citing places such as  the porch of a Virginia farmhouse where General J.E.B. Stuart lost his renowned rakishly plumed hat in 1862.

'I couldn’t find anyone who knew exactly where this took place,' Black told the Times-News. 'Then I wondered about the court records.'

Black became fascinated by the case of Diamondfield Jack and the sheepherders and wanted to see the spot where Cummins and Wilson were shot.

Notes in the case reported that a bullet fired by James Bower, one of the two men who eventually confessed to the crime (the other, Jeff Gray, admitted to firing the fatal shots), which pierced a saddle that was resting on a sagebrush, had never been recovered.

Bower testified that following the shootout, he lost his firearm, a Colt Frontiersman .44 caliber.

Improbably, Black had a feeling the missing bullet could still be lying where it fell all those years ago.

With the help of an engineer friend, Black pored over the case notes and managed to find the spot he felt certain the shootings had occurred near Deep Creek in eastern Twin Falls County.

Armed with a metal detector, Black searched the area around some likely looking brushes - and came up with a bullet which was confirmed to be from a Colt Frontiersman .44 produced between 1880 and 1905, the exact gun used by Bower.

Here, the plot thickens - or rather, thins.

Black, following his amazing discovery of the bullet near Deep Creek, was updating his friend, Dan Buchwitz, on his research.

Suddenly, for Buchwitz, everything clicked.'Max,' he said, according to the Idaho Statesman.'I think I have that gun!'