An Alabama man diagnosed with terminal lung cancer confessed Wednesday to killing another man 25 years ago, solving a cold case murder that had “nothing else to follow up on,” according to authorities.
Johnny Dwight Whited, 53, of Trinity, called the Decatur Police Department wanting to confess to the murder, telling police he wished to “lift a weight from his chest” and that he was prepared to “meet his maker.”
Detective Sean Mukaddam, a Decatur police violent crimes investigator said he was originally skeptical after his secretary informed him of the nature of the call.
“You’re always leery,” said Mukaddam, according to AL.com. “I thought it might be a prank call. But it quickly developed that this was the real deal.”
Whited was charged with murder after providing details that matched evidence and information collected after the death of Christopher Alvin Dailey, 26, whose body was found in a wooded area off George Russell Road SW in Decatur, Ala, located about 90 miles north of Birmingham.
The victim’s partially submerged 1983 Toyota Tercel was discovered about 90 minutes later in the Tennessee River. Investigators determined that Dailey had died from a single gunshot wound, with his death determined to be a homicide, police said.
Despite an extensive investigation, a suspect was never developed in the case, which was revisited several times to search for leads, according to authorities.
“There was nothing else to follow up on,” Mukaddam told the paper. “When it gets like this, you’re hoping something else will come up.”
After the call, detectives met with Whited, who provided information that matched evidence and information in the case, authorities said. He led them to the crime scene and the area where he dumped the vehicle in the water, AL.com reported.
Whited had a string of arrests for traffic and drug offenses over the years including one for possession of a crack cocaine pipe less than three weeks after Dailey’s body was found. His lawyer in the drug case, Griff Belser, said he was unaware of the arrest in the slaying.
“He has not mentioned anything about this other matter to me,” Belser said.
Authorities said it wasn’t clear what prompted the call from Whited, who didn’t know the victim, reports said. He was jailed for the killing with bail set at $ 15,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report