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Johnny Dwight Whited called Decatur, Ala., police on Nov. 18.

“The first thing out of his mouth was: ‘I want to confess to a murder I did years ago,’ ” Decatur Police Detective Sean Mukaddam said. “It’s the kind of phone call you don’t get every day.”

The call was about the cold-case homicide of Christopher Alvin Dailey, 26. Dailey was found shot to death in the woods back in 1995, according to the Washington Post.

Mukaddam was skeptical at first, since Whited, 53, said he couldn’t remember the year he committed the murder. Detectives used a graph that described all homicides in the area since the 1980s. They used this to find a case that matched details Mukaddam spoke about

“On the phone, I was a little pessimistic; this kind of thing just doesn’t happen,” Mukaddam told The Washington Post. “Confessions take time to get to that point — you don’t start with the confession and work backward.”

Mukaddam and others met with Whited who reenacted the scene for them.

He leads them into the woods about a quarter-mile to the site Dailey’s 1983 Toyota Tercel was found partially submerged in the Tennessee River, with a rock tied to the accelerator, according to the Washington Post.

“Yeah, he could have rehearsed it, but it really started to click then,” Mukaddam said. “He gave me specifics about the vehicle and how it entered the river — things only crime scene techs would know.”

In the interview police had with Whited, they found that not only was he sorry about the crime but that he was also terminally ill. Mukaddam said he seemed embarrassed and said sorry many times. The crime was weighing on him heavily.

According to, Whited is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer.

Whited is being held on $15,000 bond.


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