…which is why this O. Henry-esque story makes me smile.
Someone stabbed Joyce Goodener in the neck, set her on fire and bludgeoned her to death with a cinder block in 1995. Nobody was arrested for her murder. But three years ago, James Washington, a Tennessee prisoner, thought he was dying from a heart attack. The downside of confessing to a crime right before you kick off is nil, and the up-side might be admission through the Pearly Gates, so Washington confessed to a prison guard that he had killed Goodener. “I have something to tell you. I have to get something off my conscience and you need to hear this,’” he told the guard, James Tomlinson. “I killed somebody. I beat her to death.” He confessed all the gory details. Then, conveniently unburdened, Washington waited to go into the light, to mercy, forgiveness, and maybe a nice pair of wings and a golden harp.
Oops. He recovered. Now he’s facing at least another 50 years in prison.
There is nothing admirable or ethical about a death-bed confession. It doesn’t show contrition, honesty, accountability or good citizenship. Such confessions are examples of self-serving cowardice. Although it is true that the world would be a better, safer place with Washington gone, the fact that he now has to face earthly retribution rather than reap the benefits of heavenly absolution is the essence of justice.
But hey, thanks for sharing, James!
Facts and Graphic: Daily News