Attorney: Police want death row inmate to help in Coley McCraney murder case

Attorney: Police want death row inmate to help in Coley McCraney murder case
Coley McCraney as he's led into the Dale County courthouse. He's charged with the murders of Dothan teens Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley.

OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) - The attorney representing Coley McCraney, the man charged in the cold case murders of two teens, is accusing law enforcement of using a death row inmate to bolster their case against his client.

That inmate - Emanuel Gissendanner arrived in Ozark Thursday. Then he met with the lead investigator in McCraney's case who told Gissendanner “we need something, anything we can get on (McCraney,”. That according to a court motion filed by David Harrison.

He said officers then took Gissendanner to the Dale County Jail and placed him in the cell with McCraney. Attorney Harrison is demanding the separation of the two inmates.

There is no apparent connection between the two cases.

A jury convicted Gissendanner for the 2001 murder, robbery, and rape of 77-year old Margaret Snellgrove in Dale County.

After years in the appeals process, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered a new trial. That is scheduled next week.

McCraney is charged with shooting Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley, 17-year old high schoolers, in 1999. Prosecutors say he also raped Ms. Beasley.

Police arrested him in March after they say DNA linked him to the crimes. He is awaiting trial following his indictment this week on capital murder and rape charges.

Ozark police routinely do not comment regarding ongoing investigations.

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