Criminals are fascinating for so many reasons. For one, many of them end up living with secrets that could easily land them on death row, if someone ever learns the truth. It’s also puzzling to realize that someone is easily capable of taking another person’s life. As upsetting as it is, it still takes place every day.
A 53-year-old Alabama man named Johnny Dwight Whited waited until he was given a terminal diagnosis to confess a crime he committed back in 1995. While it’s a shame that the victim’s family had to wait so long for closure, it’s good that the truth is finally coming out.
Johnny was reportedly “waiting to confess” to the murder of Christopher Alvin Dailey on April 26, 1995.
“The call came into dispatch and was transferred to the secretary in the criminal investigation division, and she came to me around 2:30 in the afternoon,'” Detective Sean Mukaddam said to the Daily News. “The first thing out of his mouth was, ‘I want to confess to a murder from years ago.'” Detectives get these calls often. Sometimes they turn out to be pranks or hoaxes — but Whited’s claims had merit.
While Whited was certain that he’d committed the crime, there were certain details he was unaware of. For one, he knew he’d committed murder, but he didn’t know the name of his unfortunate victim. He was also uncertain of the year when it happened, meaning that the detectives had to do some deep investigations to figure out which unsolved mystery Whited was admitting to.
Detective Mukaddam asked Whited about what he did know and was able to narrow it down to a certain murder. And that’s when he realized that Whited had knowledge of the crime that was never openly revealed to the public. That’s one of the ways Mukaddam could tell Whited was being sincere about his confession. “He started to say certain things, and we realized we needed to meet,” Mukaddam said.
One of the things that Whited knew were the directions of where the murder happened. “He came to us and hopped in the back of a patrol car,” said Detective Mukaddam. “He led us to the crime scene, saying, ‘Turn right, turn left.’ Then we walked a quarter mile, and he took us exactly to the crime scene.” The moment itself must have been very intimidating for Whited, who had lived with this secret since the day it happened.
The case had been unsolved for years, mostly because there wasn’t enough evidence to figure out who had shot the victim, and why. “Those officers did a great job on their initial investigation and they continued over the years and unfortunately it just got [to] the point where there were no more leads to follow, there was no more evidence to chase, and it became cold,” said Mukaddam. They still don’t have a motive.
But that’s one of the most intriguing parts of the case, since Whited didn’t even remember the name of his victim. He just held the secret with him for such a long time and chose to finally come clean since he, himself, is nearing the end of his life. “He’s terminally ill and he’s getting close, I think in his mind, to meet his maker, and he wanted to confess everything and give closure to the family at least,” Mukaddam said.
Despite his health, Whited is still being held in jail for his crime. He was officially arrested by the Decatur Police Department and is being held with a $15,000 bond. But he did say that he wished the crime had never happened in the first place. While he could have gotten away with it, it obviously has been weighing heavily on his mind since it happened.
“He said he was sorry and he wished it never happened,” Mukaddam reported. “He blamed it on his state of mind at the time. Obviously, that’s not an excuse for killing somebody. There’s really no excuse for killing somebody else.”
But the person who benefited the most from this news? The sister of Christopher Alvin Daily, who likely thought she’d never learn who killed her brother, and why. Detective Mukaddam made sure to pay her a visit and tell her about the discovery. It must finally be a weight off her shoulders now that her brother’s killer has been found.
“I was able to go find her and surprise her at 8:30 p.m. at night and give her that news,” said Mukaddam. “She was very, very, very grateful that she was able to have closure after 25 years of having unanswered questions.” It’s a reminder that there are so many other families out there looking for similar closure.
Surely, there are still many questions surrounding the case — especially when figuring out why. Why did Whited have a gun? And what was their encounter like? The detective stated that the two had met up that day and that the murder happened shortly after. Whatever it was, it happened very quickly.
But even with a motive, it won’t restore the life of Christopher Alvin Daily. He was only 26 at the time of his death. If it weren’t for this one unfortunate encounter, he’d likely still be alive today.
According to ABC31, Whited will still need to be found guilty for his crimes. If he is, then he’ll likely spend the rest of his life in jail. However, based on his situation, his medical health would then be paid for by local taxpayers — which may have also been a strategy he had once he confessed. But no matter what, he likely feels much better now that his lifelong secret has been revealed.