One day before teens J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett went missing and two days before their bodies were found in the trunk of one of their cars on a side street in Ozark on Aug. 1, 1999, Coley McCraney received some unwelcome news.
McCraney, who has been charged with capital murder in connection with the girls’ murders, was ordered to submit DNA by a judge as part of a paternity petition from a woman who claimed McCraney was the father of her child born in September of 1998, according to court documents reviewed by the Dothan Eagle. The order for DNA submission was made July 30, 1999, by Ozark judge Fred Steagall.
According to the paternity petition, McCraney lived on Lisenby Drive in Ozark in the summer of 1999, a 1.08-mile straight walk from where the teens’ bodies were found near the intersection of Herring Avenue and James Street.
Court documents filed in connection with the case indicate McCraney was living on Coleman Drive, south of the Ozark city center and about three miles from where the bodies were found.
McCraney failed to appear for the DNA test, and failed to appear in response to a second DNA test order several months later. He was eventually ordered to pay $243 per month in child support and an additional $50 per month to catch up on back support. The child’s mother filed several child support petitions over the next several years, claiming he was not current on support.
According to additional documents, McCraney served in the military from 1993 to 1997 and was stationed in Biloxi, Miss. He married initially in 1992, but separated in 1994 and later divorced. Records indicate he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1995 while in Biloxi.
McCraney was employed by different trucking companies over the years. He remarried almost 19 years ago and has been living in Dothan.
In 2013, he created a nonprofit religious ministry known as Spirit and Truth Lifeline Ministries. He was listed as a director on incorporation papers filed with the Secretary of State along with two others.
According to a records search, McCraney does not appear to have prior criminal arrests, although juvenile records are not available for public view.