Fund established for family of man murdered in Alabama on Thanksgiving
From Staff Reports

Dec. 5, 2005 - A fund has been established to assist the family of John Frank Aylesworth, the Sulphur Springs truck driver shot to death at an Alabama hotel on Thanksgiving.

Aylesworth, 42, had been involved in a traffic accident a few days before, and had just checked out of the Messer-Airport Highway to await a ride home.

Brandon Dean Mitchell, 23, was arrested Friday by U.S. marshals and Birmingham police, for capitol murder in the deaths of Aylesworth; hotel clerk Kim Olney, 28; and Dorothy Smith, 58, of Queens, N.Y. Mitchell was identified as one of two men caught on video shooting the three victims then fleeing with a cash drawer containing $300 and a safe.

Mitchell was to be arraigned on the capitol murder charges Monday morning in Birmingham.

��I did ask the detectives if he gave a reason why he shot and killed my husband and those two other ladies, and they said they just think he didn�t want to leave any witnesses,� Daphne Aylesworth, John Aylesworth�s widow, told the The Birmingham News.

Aylesworth talked to her husband on his cell phone minutes before he was killed. She was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for herself and the children, and he made her promise she’d save him some of her homemade cranberry salad. “We told each other we loved each other,” she said, “but we told each other that 100 times a day.”

Aylesworth, a former Marine, was buried Thursday in Texas with a full military service at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

In addition to his wife Daphne, Aylesworth also leaves behind their four children, who range in age from 7 years to 10 months old.

�Friends of the Aylesworth family have established a fund at a Burleson bank where donations can be made to assist his family with costs associated with his death. Donations may be made to John Frank Aylesworth Foundation, First Convenience Bank, 951 S.W. Wilshire, Burleson, TX 76028.

Barbara Cavanaugh may be contacted at 903-885-6936 for further questions regarding the Aylesworth fund or donations.

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