A terminally ill Alabama man had a burning confession to get off his chest before it was too late — and, in unloading it, solved a cold-case homicide that had eluded police for 25 years.

Johnny Dwight Whited called the Decatur Police Department on Wednesday, November 18, saying that he wanted to confess to the murder of Christopher Alvin Dailey, who died from a single gunshot wound to the head in 1995.

Authorities at the time were unable to resolve the death. “Despite the extensive investigation, a suspect was never developed in the case,” the Decatur Police Department said in a statement. “In the years that followed, the case was revisited several times in search for leads,” but to no end.

That was until this week, when Investigator Sean Mukaddam took the call from and spoke to Whited regarding the case. The 53-year-old agreed to show them the scene of the crime.

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“Detectives met with Whited, and Whited provided information that matched the evidence and information in the case,” police confirm.

The Decatur Police Department has charged and arrested Whited for murder. He’s being held in jail on $15,000.00 bond.

According to the Plainfield Citizen, Whited already was awaiting trial on a methamphetamine charge, with a trial scheduled for May. Whited’s lawyer for that case, Griff Belser, said he was unaware of the murder and Whited’s subsequent arrest until it was announced by the police.

“He has not mentioned anything about this other matter to me,” Belser said.

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Whited had been in trouble with the law over the years, having a string of arrests for traffic and drug offenses to his name — including one for possession of a crack cocaine pipe which came just a few weeks after Dailey’s body was discovered in 1995.

Authorities say they don’t have any clear idea what prompted Whited to make his confession at this particular time so long after the original crime. Mukaddam confirmed to The New York Times that Whited was terminally ill and termed him “remorseful.”

In the meantime, Dailey’s surviving family has been notified of the arrest.

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