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Executed Killer Said to Have Confessed

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

After 16 years of proclaiming his innocence, a former Ku Klux Klansman confessed to killing a black teenager, according to a minister who met with the death row inmate before he was executed. The Rev. Bob Smith mentioned the confession at Henry Francis Hays’ funeral. Hays, 42, was executed in Alabama’s electric chair early Friday for the 1981 slaying. Smith said Hays offered a tearful 40-minute account of 19-year-old Michael Donald’s abduction, beating and strangulation. Donald’s body was later hanged in a tree. The minister said he told of the confession because Hays did not tell him to keep it private.


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