Coley McCraney preliminary hearing

Coley McCraney shakes hands with his attorney David Harrison as he enters the Dale County Courthouse before a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

The father of one of two Dothan teenagers murdered in Ozark 20 years ago testified Wednesday that he believes a suspect in the murders should be granted bond.

Hilton Beasley told the court that he and another investigator had been looking into the case, and have found no evidence that Coley McCraney is involved in the murders. Beasley believes the murders were part of a cover-up that possibly involves a cocaine cartel.

Wednesday’s hearing was to consider bond for McCraney, who has been held at the Dale County jail on capital murder charges since the middle of March following his arrest by Ozark Police in the 1999 murders of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett. Authorities say his DNA matches that found on one of the murder victims. The case was bound over to a grand jury following an April preliminary hearing.

David Harrison, who represents McCraney in the case involving murdered teens J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, argued the evidence is not strong enough to keep McCraney confined, and his ties to the community make him a minimal flight risk.

Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker testified that five names were provided by Parabon, the laboratory that analyzed DNA samples, including McCraney’s. Walker said he was surprised by the results; he knew McCraney, and knew at the time of the murders McCraney lived near the scene of the crime.

The defense believes the DNA samples tested by the Alabama Forensic Sciences have not been preserved well since 1999. They also believe the employee who performed the DNA test may be deceased at this time.

Harrison stated before his client knew he was a suspect, he provided law enforcement with a DNA sample.

"My client provided a DNA sample," Harrison said. "My client told the chief of police he would do whatever he could to help. My client called the chief multiple times. Does that sound like someone guilty?"

The prosecutor stated McCraney's DNA was found on one of the victims, and both victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head.

According to Dale County Assistant District Attorney David Emery, the Ozark Police Department took a sample of the defendant's DNA. The sample was profiled and proven to be an exact match to the DNA deposit left by the defendant on the deceased at the crime scene.

Dale County Judge Stanley Garner Jr. took the bond request under advisement.

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