ON CLOSER INSPECTION: As ABC News continues to plug its upcoming two-hour special “A Killing on the Cape,” an investigation into the nearly 16-year-old murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington, CBS News is not about to be left behind.
More than a week before the scheduled ABC piece, CBS News’ “48 Hours” will air its own one-hour broadcast Saturday at 9 p.m. Led by Susan Spencer, “48 Hours Investigates Murder on the Cape,” will be an updated version of a 2007 episode. The renewed interest in the rape and killing of Worthington comes at a time when the convicted killer Christopher McCowen is appealing (once again) for another trial. McCowen’s attorney Gary Pelletier did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. Last month Pelletier said he planned to make another appeal for a trial, which would mark McCowen’s fourth attempt.
In January 2002, the 46-year-old Worthington was found in her weathered Cape Cod house with her toddler Ava, unharmed nearby. Following a three-year investigation that included local police soliciting DNA samples from male residents in Truro, Mass., McCowen was convicted but he has claimed his innocence repeatedly. Perhaps taking a page from the season one success of Sarah Koenig’s public radio investigative podcast “Serial,” ABC Radio is releasing six podcasts so that viewers can be immersed in information and facts about the case before the 20/20 “A Killing on the Cape” debuts on Nov. 24.
CBS News and ABC’s 20/20 teams interviewed local commercial fisherman Tony Jackett, the married father of six who fathered Ava out of wedlock with Worthington. Jackett was among the suspects that police questioned after her death. But only the “20/20” contingency interviewed McCowen, as well as his father, for its segment.
Promotional material for the upcoming “48 Hours” segment notes how McCowen admitted to having consensual sex with Worthington but said a friend was the killer. Although not named in the “48 Hours” press material, the aforementioned friend with McCowen on the night that Worthington was believed to have been killed was Jeremy Frazier, according to the “20/20” web site. Should armchair detectives need another resource, filmmaker Arthur Egeli’s latest flick “Murder on the Cape” was inspired by the Worthington case.