Accused Alabama Kidnapper Corresponds with Judge, Shares Inmate Letters Regarding Cliff Incident

Accused Alabama Kidnapper Corresponds with Judge, Shares Inmate Letters Regarding Cliff Incident

A Fort Payne woman who is accused of killing a Hartselle woman by pushing her off a cliff in 2021 has submitted two character reference letters and a letter she penned to a Dekalb County judge on Tuesday.

22-year-old Jessie Eden Kelly is charged with the murder of Mary Elizabeth Isbell, a Hartselle resident who vanished in 2021. Kelly was still being held without bond at the Cherokee County Jail on Thursday.

Kelly’s mother Loretta Kay Carr, 45, is also accused of capital murder in connection with Isbell’s demise. On Thursday, she stayed without bond at the Dekalb County Jail. The two are purposefully being detained apart before trial, according to the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Office.

Kelly filed a letter to a judge dated February 7 that said, “I ask that the court please take these letters into consideration on my behalf of who I am, rather than just what I’m being portrayed in black and white.”

A Dekalb County sheriff’s official stated that Kelly was being held in Pennsylvania while awaiting extradition to Missouri on a felony larceny charge at the time of her mother’s arrest in June. In July, she was sent to Alabama by extradition.

Accused Alabama Kidnapper Corresponds with Judge, Shares Inmate Letters Regarding Cliff Incident (1)

Additionally, eight letters of support for Kelly were submitted to Dekalb County District Court on Tuesday. The letters appeared to be from other women who were also incarcerated.

One woman, who claimed to be a cellmate with Kelly in Cherokee County Jail, commented, “She is a bright, well-meaning and intelligent young woman who I feel could be easily taken advantage of due to her sweet nature and trusting spirit.”

Kelly and another prisoner from Cherokee County shared a bunk for four months, according to the other prisoner’s letter. Kelly was a “kind-hearted child of God,” according to her description.

Kelly is referred to as “naïve” and “innocent” in multiple letters. Another woman wrote, “I don’t think she fully understands how serious her situation is.”

Isbell’s remains were found in Little River Canyon National Preserve by a multi-agency search team in late June, around the time of her 39th birthday. Nearly two years prior, her ex-husband had filed a missing person’s report.

According to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Hartselle police used phone records at the time of the incident to determine that Isbell was in DeKalb County. There were indications of a struggle, according to deputies, who obtained a search warrant for Isbell’s DeKalb County home.

DeKalb County Chief Investigator Nick Brown states that charges against Carr and Kelly in connection with Isbell’s killing were brought months later, following a credible tip, witness accounts, and one of the defendant’s comments.

Brown stated, “One of the co-defendants was very cooperative and helped lead us to Mary’s remains.” Brown claims that “a boyfriend” brought the suspects and the victim together.

Isbell died on or around October 18, 2021, according to an investigator’s affidavit submitted to the DeKalb County District Court.

According to the complaint, they accomplished this “by pushing her off a cliff” and “during her abduction or attempt to abduct.” It’s one of the most “heinous” cases of Brown’s career, he said, adding that Isbell’s cause of death seems to be from being thrown off the cliff.

Perched on Lookout Mountain, Little River Canyon National Preserve spans approximately 15,000 acres close to Fort Payne.

Kelly wrote, “I am incredibly grateful for your time and honor.” “I highly appreciate it.”

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