I am planning to hit the 50 states and possibly a little more in the next few weeks and months. This will begin with Alabama and proceed alphabetically unless there is some reason that another case needs to take center stage or have an update. I will add photos as they become possible.
The double murder of Acie and Carolyn Worthy struck me because it appeared to be two nice people minding their own business, active in their communties and their only appeal to a killer maybe being that Mr. Worthy was known to carry large amounts of case. Their murder was tied to a double murder in Florida earlier in 1989 and two skis masks were found at that scene. Remember that there may be TWO killers when you are running this through your head to see if you might remember seeing something or hearing something or being the confidante of someone who told you about these homicides.
The Worthy Homicides
Everyone knows that criminals target vulnerable people who may carry cash money, not thinking of themselves as potential victims and believing they live in safe neighborhoods.
Acie and Carolyn Worthy lived one mile off Interstate 59/20 on Alabama Highway 216. Their local volunteer fire department responded to a report of a house fire at their home on October 16, 1989, at 12:43 a.m. Anyone who has been to a fire scene knows the destruction caused by the fire and also by the efforts of the fire fighters to quelch the fire and save any residents. The fire damage and then the water damage and efforts to breach the house are likely just what the killers had in mind. Both Acie and Carolyn Worthy’s bodies were found in the home and initial investigation showed that they died, not from the fire or smoke inhalation, but from gunshot wounds.
Mrs. Worthy was choir director and the couple had aarriveed home from a Sunday night church service. The house had been intentionally torched, with the reasonable assumption made that the fire was set to cover up evidence of the homicides. Mr. Worthy was an officer at the local VFW post Bessemer. He was known to carry large amounts of cash on his person.
The possibility that this was not the first time this killer or killers had been operating was revealed when investigators in Alabama were contacted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about a double homicide in Graceville, Florida in January of the same year.
Robert McRae, Sr., and his wife, Katherine, ages 72 and 70, were found murdered in their Graceville, FL, home. Neighborhood children had gone to their home to visit and found two ski masks lying near the back door. The frightened children ran to a neighbor who called police and upon entering the McRae home, police found the bodies of the couple.
Strangely enough, Mrs. McRae was found thumb-cuffed behind her back. Both she and her husband had been shot in the head. When police compared the evidence in both cases, they determined the cases to be linked.
The McRae case was nine months prior to the Worthy killings. Maybe the killer(s) tried to make sure they wouldn’t be leaving any evidence at the Worthy scene. Remember, there were TWO ski masks found.
Anyone with evidence about this case can call the Tuscaloosa Homicide unit at 205-464-8690 or use the Homicide Unit email at Homicide@tuscco.com.