While an attorney for capital murder defendant Coley McCraney said last week evidence may indicate his client knew at least one of the victims of a 1999 double murder, court documents indicate McCraney told authorities following his arrest that he had no knowledge of either victim.
A preliminary hearing for McCraney, charged with five counts of capital murder and one count of rape in connection with the slayings of J.B. Beasley in Tracie Hawlett in 1999, is currently scheduled for Wednesday at the Dale County Courthouse. The hearing could shed more light on McCraney’s statements to police following his arrest on March 15.
During a press conference March 20, David Harrison, defense attorney for McCraney, first indicated McCraney may have known one of the victims. The statement came in response to a question related to law enforcement’s assertion that McCraney’s DNA was found on one of the victims.
“We need to remember Mr. McCraney is innocent until proven guilty. Everyone is basing their decision on the DNA. Everyone believes DNA stands for ‘do not ask.’ It (DNA) doesn't prove anything, other than they knew each other,” Harrison said.
WTVY television subsequently reported that Harrison believes McCraney knew or had met one or both victims. He did not elaborate further.
However, an application for a search warrant in connection with the case indicates McCraney told police he did not know the victims.
According to the seven-page application filed by a Special Agent with the Alabama Attorney General’s office, McCraney was stopped March 15 at U.S. Highway 84 East near Woodland Drive in Daleville at 3:04 p.m. He was advised of his right to an attorney and transported to the Ozark Police Department for questioning.
“During the interview, Mr. McCraney denied having any knowledge of the victims, and denied having any interactions with the victims. Mr. McCraney stopped answering questions and requested a lawyer after several attempts to get him to explain his actions during the offense,” the application states.
When contacted by the Dothan Eagle Monday, Harrison said he was not prepared to comment on the statement in the application because he has not had an opportunity to review all of the documents.
The application sought the right to search two Android smartphones and an iPad believed to be in McCraney’s possession. Text messages, messages via app, call logs, media files, web browser history, and any digital documents stored on the devices were all sought to be searched in the application.