WEB EXTRA: FOX 16 News anchor Kevin Kelly shares how his letters from Jory Worthen led to the face-to-face meeting with the mother of his victim

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – I have been following the tragic murders of Alyssa Cannon and her 4-year-old son ever since they happened back in June of 2019.

I was shocked that in a blink of an eye, two young beautiful lives were taken. Who could commit such an act, and more importantly, why?

Camden police quickly identified Alyssa’s fiancé Jory Worthen as the primary suspect, but when they did, he was already long gone and the question we were all left asking is where did he go?

When I learned the U.S. Marshals launched a nationwide manhunt, I immediately called my contacts within the department to see if there was something I could do to help.

Over the course of several months, I interviewed the lead investigators in the case, talked to Camden police, and did several reports.

Hundreds of tips poured in from around the country about possible sightings, not because of what I did here in Little Rock, but because by now this was a national story. Everyone was looking for Worthen.

On October 15, 2020, 16 months after Alyssa and Braydon were strangled and beaten to death, U.S. Marshals tracked Worthen down at a hotel in Burbank, California. Nine days later he was brought back to Camden, Arkansas, and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

That’s when I decided to roll the dice and write him a letter. I simply asked him if he would like to do an interview with me so he could share his version of what happened. I never expected him to respond, but on June 4, 2021, he responded.

I immediately opened the letter and started reading. This is a portion of what he wrote me, word for word:

“Mr. Kevin Kelly:  Hello sir, I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I am still trying to process all of this and learn how to cope with being in jail and facing everything that I am. As you know, a lot of horrible and nasty things have been said about me. I have been made out to be some kind of monster or evil person. But that is just not me. It’s not who I am or who I was. A lot of the things going around being said about me are not true. I was never on drugs, but I was a bad drinker and Xanax taker. That is it. Those two things alone controlled me mostly. But I have always tried my best to be as good a person that I can be. I have never wanted to hurt anyone or anything.”

He then proceeds to tell me how he has suffered over the years from depression and mental illness, which he claims caused him to drink even more and take Xanax.

He also told me that he never sought professional help due to “denial” and “pride,” but he did say that “after a while of heavy drinking, I would act different when intoxicated, unable to control my actions or even remember most of the times I was drunk and on Xanax. I just started making bad decisions and not caring much about anything but getting drunk.” 

He then shifts his attention back to the crime saying, “This situation is the most horrible thing that I could ever imagine. I hate everything about this and hate that so many people are hurt and heartbroken.”

At that point he agrees to grant me my request for an interview, but only if I allow him to talk about the “horrible, crooked and unfair” conditions of the jail he is in.

I immediately responded to his letter, telling him that I appreciated him sharing his background with me and the problems he experienced with alcohol and drugs.

I told him that I would like to do the interview and that he could share his concerns with me about the jail, but it would take time to investigate and verify. I put the letter in the mail the next day, June 5, 2021.

Months went by and I never heard from him. Then on September 20, 2021, we learned that Worthen appeared in court, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences.

It shocked all of us, but the news absolutely devastated, Alyssa’s mother, Angela Cannon. According to state law, a victim has the legal right to be at all court proceedings and to be allowed the opportunity to read an impact statement.

But Angela was never notified of the hearing until after it was over. As a result, she was never given her legal right to look at her daughter and grandson’s killer in the face and read her impact statement.

Three weeks later I arrived at work and sitting on my desk was a letter from Worthen. I immediately ripped it open and started reading.

He said, “I am still nervous about doing an interview. I feel bad that the news keeps bringing it up and making the family of Alyssa and Braydon see it and be reminded of it so often. I do not want in any way to disrespect their family by putting myself on the news.” 

He went on to say, “I want everyone to have closure of some sort. If me doing an interview helps Alyssa and Braydon’s family have any kind of closure then I will do it.”

But once again there is a condition, only this time, it’s different, and I found it rather shocking.

He said, “Also, for me to agree to the interview could you please make sure it will help Alyssa’s mom find a little closure and she is OK with it?”

I immediately picked up the phone and called Alyssa Cannon. My first thought was to arrange an interview with her to not only get her reaction to Worthen’s letter, but to also record her reading her impact statement so I could play it in front of him when and if the interview took place.

I started the conversation by asking her what the latest news was pertaining to an appeal made on her behalf by the “Victim’s Rights Reform Council,” after Worthen was sentenced.

Because Angela’s legal rights were denied by not informing her of the sentencing ahead of time, they were requesting a special hearing be scheduled so she could read her impact statement.

She told me that they had contacted the attorney general’s office, the governor’s office and the prosecutor but had not heard anything about when or if the special request was going to be granted.

I then asked her, “Do you think that hearing would provide you the closure you’ve been seeking?”  She told me, “Absolutely, I’ve been waiting for that day for the past two years.”

I then said, “Well, what if I can help provide you that closure?”  She said, “What do you mean?” 

What Angela didn’t know and what I proceeded to tell her was that I had been communicating with the man who killed her daughter and grandson ever since he was brought back to Camden, Arkansas, and put in jail and that he agreed to my interview request. But he would only do it if she approved it.

She immediately started crying and said, “yes, absolutely.” 

At that point, I felt it was appropriate and necessary to read to her over the phone what Worthen had written to me with no cameras, no microphones, and no recordings.

I could hear her sobbing and crying because there were parts in the letter Worthen had written to me in which he said he was sorry for the pain and suffering he caused.

After I finished reading the letter, she then asked me a question that took me by surprise and something I honestly hadn’t thought of. She said, “Can I go with you to the interview so I can read my impact statement?”

At the time, I wasn’t sure if I could make that happen. I told Angela I still needed to contact the sheriff to see if he would allow me and our cameras inside the jail to interview Worthen, but that I would ask him and get back to her.

Once again, I picked up my phone and called Ouachita County Sheriff David Norwood. I explained to him that Jory Worthen had agreed to do an interview with me from behind bars but only if Angela Cannon was “okay” with it. I also told him that Angela wanted to come too so she could read her impact statement.

There was a brief pause and then he said, “Let me go ask Jory if that’s okay. I will either have him call you back or I will.” Two minutes later my phone rang, and I wasn’t sure if it was the sheriff or Worthen on the other end.

It was the Sheriff, and once again I was shocked. He said, “Jory said that’s fine.” 

A convicted killer not only agreed to my interview request but also to allow Angela to come to the jail and meet him face to face so she could read her impact statement. As I said, I was shocked, but in the back of my head, I wasn’t sure any of this would actually happen until all parties were inside a room at the jail and the cameras were rolling. That happened flawlessly on October, 20, 2021.

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