Read the Full '20/20' Transcript

An unsolved murder and a startling 20/20 discovery leads to an arrest 34 years after the crime.

ABC NEWS

Mr. Avants! Mr. Avants!

ANNOUNCER

When 20/20 continues after this from our ABC stations. (Commercial break)

Ernest Avants is the last surviving suspect in the unsolved murder of an elderly black farmhand. For 34 years, the family of Ben Chester White has waited for justice. And right now, it could be closer than ever.

(VO) The place where Ben Chester White has murdered has changed over three decades. The bridge is broken down. The road abandoned, taken back by the forest. And the victim forgotten by Mississippi justice. But for the man found not guilty, Ernest Avants, some things never seem to change. For example, his racist beliefs.

ERNEST AVANTS

A white man has run this world. A white man has run this United States. That's why it's great like it is.

ABC NEWS

(VO) On local society in the '60s…

ERNEST AVANTS

The Jews own Adams County and the Catholics run it and the niggers enjoyed it.

ABC NEWS

(VO) But on the murder of Ben Chester White.

(OC) Did you kill Ben Chester White?

ERNEST AVANTS

No, I did not.

ABC NEWS

Did you shoot him with a shotgun?

ERNEST AVANTS

No, I did not.

ABC NEWS

Did you have anything to do with the murder of Ben Chester White?

ERNEST AVANTS

No, I did not.

ABC NEWS

This is part of the confession that was read at James Lloyd Jones' trial. `How many times did the shotgun shoot?' And Jones said, `One time.' `Who was the man who shot the shotgun?' `A fellow named Avants.' That's you.

ERNEST AVANTS

But I didn't hear -- hear that read. Whatever was read, and whatever James Jones said, was a bold faced lie.

ABC NEWS

Why would he lie?

ERNEST AVANTS

Why?

ABC NEWS

Why would he implicate…

ERNEST AVANTS

Why if this nigger was killed like they said he was, why wouldn't the buzzards eat him? The buzzards won't eat nothing that die of rabies or poison.

ABC NEWS

So let me get this straight. You are saying that because the buzzards didn't get at Ben Chester White's body, that he had to have died of either rabies or poison?

ERNEST AVANTS

Evidently.

ABC NEWS

Not gunshot wounds?

ERNEST AVANTS

Evidently.

ABC NEWS

(VO) But when Ernest Avants went on trial, two FBI agents testified that he also confessed. They were questioning him on the truck bombing of a civil rights worker, when suddenly Avants changed the subject to Ben Chester White.

ALAN KORNBLUM

He said, and I'm quoting him, "Yeah, I shot that nigger."

ABC NEWS

(VO) One of the agents, Alan Kornblum, agreed to an interview on the condition that his face be concealed because he now works in intelligence. ALAN KORNBLUM

We were both stunned about his admissions, they were graphic, were very specific. He said that the other individual had emptied his carving, the full magazine, into Ben Chester White after which he emptiedb -- bhe fired the shotgun.

ABC NEWS

You were interviewed by two FBI agents, Alan Kornblum…

ERNEST AVANTS

Kornblum was from New York and he was a Jew.

ABC NEWS

(VO) According to Kornblum, Avants bragged that while he did shoot Ben Chester White, he could not be found guilty of murder.

ALAN KORNBLUM He said he 'blew his head off with a shotgun, but he was already dead. And my lawyers told me you can't convict me for killing a dead guy.'

ERNEST AVANTS

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