Coley McCraney preliminary hearing

Coley McCraney shakes hands with his attorney David Harrison as he enters the Dale County Courthouse before an April 3 preliminary hearing.

Defense Attorney Andrew Scarborough and Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams confirmed Monday a Dale County grand jury has indicted Coley McCraney on five counts of capital murder.

McCraney was arrested earlier this year and charged with capital murder in the 1999 shooting deaths of Dothan teens J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett.

Adams and Scarborough declined to comment further.

McCraney faces three capital murder charges for J.B. Beasley, and two capital murder charges for Tracie Hawlett. His charges stem from DNA test results performed by Parabon Labs in Virginia, which matched McCraney's DNA to evidence collected from the 1999 crime scene.

Results were also confirmed by the Alabama state lab.

If convicted, McCraney faces either life in prison without parole or death. Adams previously told the Dothan Eagle he would seek a dealth penalty upon conviction.

An indictment indicates the grand jury believes enough evidence exists to move the case toward a trial. It is not meant to insinuate guilt.

Scarborough and David Harrison, defense attorneys who represent McCraney, believe their client is innocent of the murder charges. McCraney has professed his innocence through attorneys and his wife.

Harrison previously stated in a press conference his client’s DNA only proved he knew one of the victims, and that the DNA did not prove he murdered the two girls.

The case now enters the discovery phase, where the prosecution must share evidence with the defense. It is not known how long the discovery phase of the case will last.

McCraney is the first person indicted in the 20-year-old case. Another person, Johnny William Barrentine, was arrested in September of 1999, but released on bond when Barrentine's DNA did not match DNA from evidence collected at the crime scene. His case was presented to a grand jury in January of 2000, but the grand jury chose not to indict.

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