NEW ORLEANS (AP) — On the 24th anniversary of the crime, a 74-year-old Louisiana man confessed to killing his son-in-law in North Carolina, officials said Thursday.
Maj. Tom Effler of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in Goldsboro, North Carolina, said that on Feb. 7, Allen Deaver told authorities he'd killed Sydney Maurice Gregory on Feb. 7, 1993. Gregory, who was in his 20s, was beaten and left inside a mobile home that was set on fire in Seven Springs, North Carolina.
"This came out of the blue," Effler said of learning of the crime. "It wasn't even on our radar."
Effler said Deaver began talking with his minister about the crime while he was hospitalized in February. As the conversation continued, his vital signs began to go up, prompting a nurse to cut the discussion short, Effler said.
When Deaver was discharged, the minister visited him at his Livingston Parish home — this time with a detective present who listened but didn't question Deaver — to continue the conversation. The detective then contacted Wayne County authorities and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which found an unsolved arson case matching the description Deaver gave, Effler said.
Deaver didn't say why he killed his daughter's husband, Effler said.
"It's my opinion that because he started talking about it while in the hospital, maybe his conscience was bothering him or he might have wanted to just get it off his chest before he meets his maker," Effler speculated.
Gregory was found in the bedroom of his burned mobile home. His death certificate lists blunt force trauma as his cause of death. No one else was injured.
Effler said Deaver moved to Walker, Louisiana, shortly after the slaying.
A Wayne County grand jury indicted Deaver on a charge of first-degree murder Wednesday. Effler said deputies from the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office arrested him on a fugitive warrant and he's being held in Louisiana without bond at the parish jail.
Livingston Parish sheriff's spokeswoman Lori Steele said Deaver waived extradition Thursday and was awaiting transport to North Carolina. She did not know when that would occur.