PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Police in a Dallas suburb say a homeless man showed up at their station and confessed to killing a Portland man in 1991.
"He just walked into our lobby and said he had something to tell somebody," said Sgt. Kevin Perlich of the Richardson Police Department. "He just said he had some stuff on his mind that had been bothering him, and that was the reason he thought he might be having a rough time."
David Lee Patterson, 60, faces a charge of murder. He was booked into Dallas County Jail on Tuesday and was being held without bond, according to jail records.
Patterson has waived extradition and should arrive in Oregon later this week, authorities said. It was unclear if he had an attorney.
The killing police say Patterson confessed to Thursday happened in May 1991.
At the time, detectives said Eric Lamon, 21, was walking home with two friends from the Satyricon nightclub when he got into a fight with a transient. Lamon was shot in the back and died after surgery.
Nine months later, someone started sending postcards to The Oregonian newspaper, claiming to have fatally shot a man who was shouting racial names at him and kicking him.
"All I wanted was a good night sleep so I could continue my endless roaming," someone wrote in one of three unsigned postcards.
Once Patterson told the officers he had written to The Oregonian, confessing, they looked up old articles and the man's account fit.
"We alerted Portland police Thursday night because everything was matching up pretty closely," Perlich said. "Either he knows what he's talking about, or he was a nut in the long sense of the word because he's confessing to a murder."
Patterson, who is black, told Richardson police last week that he was sleeping on a sidewalk when three white men approached and began kicking him while yelling racial epithets. He drew a gun and killed one man.
In the note, the writer said he was a black man who had been attacked by three white men while he slept in the doorway of a funeral home.
They were "kicking me about the head and shoulder and shouting racial names," stated the Feb. 29, 1992, article about the anonymous confession.
"I jumped up, fired one round in there direction I heard later he died I feel sorry for him But my life was in danger," the letter said. "I wasn't doing anything to them. I'm a Vietnam vet I didn't need that to happen to me but I pray his family will forgive me, and I hope your city will too."
Rod Underhill, a chief deputy district attorney in Multnomah County, said the homicide probably would have gone unsolved were it not for the confession.
"You never know when something's going to fall out of the sky," Underhill said. "He just wanted to get it off his shoulders. It just weighed on him. That's what we were told. It's as simple at that."
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, www.dallasnews.com
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.