James Murray Washington was already serving a 15-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder, when a Davidson County jury found him guilty in a 14-year-old murder case on Wednesday.
Police had classified the death of Joyce Goodner inside a home on Ashland City Highway as a cold case before Washington admitted to beating a woman to death. Washington, 50, made the admission while in the hospital for seizures in 2009.
He recovered from the illness and was indicted for the murder of Goodner.
The first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic sentence of at least 51 years in prison.