Inmate confesses to murder on "deathbed", recants after surviving, sentenced to life in prison anyway
Washington had a heart attack while in jail for an unrelated crime, and he thought he was about to die. Lying in his hospital bed, he desperately looked for a confessor and found one in guard James Tomlinson.
"He kind of got as best as he could, motioned, and said, 'I have something to tell you. I have to get something off my conscience and you need to hear this.' He said, 'I killed somebody. I beat her to death,'" Tomlinson said.
So, prosecutors were handed the most improbable testimony. Washington was always considered a person of interest, as he knew the victim and admitted he saw her the day she died. But there was never any real evidence until Washington provided it himself.
That is, until his health improved and he changed his mind. But it was too late, and Washington will now serve an automatic life sentence of at least 51 years in prison.