Tuesday, November 6, 2012
A black man who made a deathbed confession that linked him to a cold case murder from 1995 now faces jail because of what he thought was a last-ditch effort for a clean conscience
James Washington was having a heart attack when he called a police officer over to his hospital bed in 2009. While he hoped for absolution, what he got instead was a medical miracle. And now, a murder charge. Washington had long been linked to the murder of Joyce Goodener, who was found stabbed in the neck, beaten to death with a cinder-block and set on fire in an abandoned Nashville, Tennessee house. A lack of sufficient evidence - most significantly there were no DNA samples - kept the police from arresting anyone over the past 17 years. At the time of his 2009 heart attack, Washington was in jail for a different crime. Even though he tried to talk back the confession in the wake of the hospital stay, he was found guilty in court and now faces up to 51 years behind bars.