OZARK – Although a scheduled pre-trial hearing associated with the deaths of two Dothan teens in 1999 was continued here Monday, the man charged in the capital murder case said he’s ready to go to trial.
After prosecutors agreed to provide Coley McCraney’s defense team access to the evidence in the case, Dale County Circuit Judge William Filmore continued the hearing.
McCraney 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.
As McCraney was being escorted from the Dale County Courthouse Monday, he responded to a reporter’s question about the ongoing case and said, “I’m ready to go to trial.”
According to defense attorneys David Harrison and Andrew Scarborough, prosecutors agreed to turn over all evidence in McCraney’s murder case to the defense.
“At this time we have received no evidence,” Harrison said. “Once we receive the evidence, it will be examined, and if we need to address certain items not provided, then we will go back to the hearing.”
Scarborough said the evidence is everything in McCraney’s case, and the evidence must be examined by the defense.
Although court documents show an anticipated trial date for February, Harrison believes McCraney’s jury trial may start in early spring.
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.
McCraney has professed his innocence through legal counsel and his wife.