February trial set for Coley McCraney

Coley McCraney

A trial has been set for a Dothan man charged with the 1999 murders of two teenage girls whose bodies were found in a trunk of a car.

Court records show Dale County Judge William Fillmore scheduled a trial date of Feb. 3 for Coley McCraney, who was arrested earlier this year and charged with capital murder in the deaths of J. B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett.

Beasley and Hawlett, who were both 17 and from Dothan, went missing, and it was two days before their bodies were found in the trunk of Beasley’s car on a side street in Ozark on Aug. 1, 1999. The crime scene, where the bodies were found, indicated the two girls had been shot in the head with a 9mm handgun.

McCraney faces three capital murder charges for Beasley and two capital murder charges for Hawlett. His charges stem from DNA test results performed by Parabon Labs in Virginia, which matched McCraney's DNA to evidence collected from the crime scene. Results were also confirmed by the Alabama state lab.

In an unrelated case, McCraney 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 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.

If convicted, McCraney faces either life in prison without parole or the death penalty. Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams previously said he will seek the death penalty upon conviction.

Andrew 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.

McCraney has a hearing scheduled Monday for the court to address multiple motions requested by defense attorneys.

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