OZARK – Relatives and supporters of Coley McCraney formed a prayer circle in front of the Dale County Courthouse on Saturday, asking God to provide justice for the man charged with capital murder in the deaths of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett.
James Fuller, one of Coley’s cousins, said McCraney is innocent and his supporters want whoever killed the two girls to be held accountable.
“We don’t just want to see him free, we want the ones that did this crime,” Fuller said.
The families of the two Dothan teens have held their own vigils over the years at the site on Herring Avenue in Ozark where their bodies were found shot to death in the trunk of Beasley’s car on Aug. 1, 1999. They also seek justice.
McCraney is charged with five counts of capital murder and one count of rape in connection with the deaths. He is being held in the Dale County Jail with no bond.
The charges stem from DNA test results performed by Parabon Labs in Virginia and further checking through the GEDMatch database.
Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker said McCraney was arrested after test results indicated his DNA was present on one of the victims.
Defense attorneys argue the DNA doesn’t prove anything except McCraney knew one of the victims.
McCraney’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 3. McCraney’s wife, Jeanette, said another prayer vigil is scheduled for April 2 at their home in Dothan.
In his prayer, Fuller said McCraney has been falsely accused.
“This is a man of God, Father God, a family man,” Fuller said. “A man that would give money out of his pocket to feed other people.”
He said when whoever killed the girls is revealed, McCraney won’t have to worry about the people slandering his name.
“You will restore him as a man, Father God, a man of God,” Fuller said.
The vigil had about two dozen participants and lasted about a half-hour. Some members of the circle led the prayers, with others urging them on with phrases like “Yes, Lord” and “In the name of Jesus.”
Some were wearing “McCraney faith” shirts with “Free Coley” on the sleeves and Bible verses on the back.
“We ask you to continue to strengthen his love of God,” one woman said. “We need you to strengthen his wife, continue to strengthen his children, his sisters.”
Jeanette McCraney said she wants people to continue to pray.
“It’s a trying time, but we know God’s got this,” she said.