Local truck driver gunned down in Alabama robbery
He was innocent bystander at heinous robbery-triple murder
From Staff Reports

Nov. 27, 2005 -- A Sulphur Springs truck driver stranded in Birmingham, Ala., was gunned down in a robbery just minutes before someone was to arrive and pick him up from the motel he was staying at Thursday.

John Franklin Aylesworth, 42, was apparently an innocent bystander in the triple murder that police are calling "a heinous crime."

Aylesworth had checked into the Airport Inn in Birmingham just days before after his truck was involved in an accident from which he escaped unharmed. At about 3 p.m. Thursday, another driver coming to pick him up called 1 mile from the motel and was told Aylesworth had just checked out and was waiting in the lobby.

Before the other driver arrived, two robbers entered the lobby, walked up to Aylesworth and shot him before he had a chance to stand up, according to reports from The Birmingham News. The robbers then shot the clerk working the front desk when she turned to flee, then shot another woman who may have been trying to check in at the motel.

The robbers took a cash drawer containing about $300 and a small safe containing two days' worth of receipts.

Sulphur Springs police notified Aylesworth's wife, Daphne Kay Aylesworth, of his death Friday morning.

According to The Birmingham News report, Police Capt. Herman Hinton said robbery is a possible motive, but no suspects have been identified. He said the men may have killed the three victims to make sure there were no eyewitnesses.

"This is a heinous crime," Hinton said.

The triple slayings were captured on a security camera at the motel. The manager of the motel said the face of one of the two robbers was visible on the tape, which police are reviewing.

Anita Walker, the director of human resources for Dependable Auto Shippers, Aylesworth's employer, said the Sulphur Springs man was " just a very hard-working young man that was diligent in doing his job for us.

"I'm sure he was looking forward to getting home to his wife and children and having Thanksgiving dinner," Walker said.

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