McCraney proclaims innocence, says “I’m ready” for murder trial

Prosecutors sparred over evidence, including the demolition of the car where the bodies of the two high school students were found.
Coley's McCraney is led from the Dale County Courthouse in this 2019 photo.
Coley's McCraney is led from the Dale County Courthouse in this 2019 photo.
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 9:58 AM CDT
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DALE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVY) - Suspected killer Coley McCraney proclaimed his innocence as he walked into court for for one of this final times before his long-anticipated trial.

“Yes, I am (ready),” he said of next month’s scheduled trial, which comes more than three years after his startling arrest in the cold case murders of two Dothan teens.

As his wife straightened his tie outside the Dale County Courthouse on Thursday, McCraney also predicted he will be found not guilty of those heinous crimes.

Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley, both 17, were shot in 1999 but McCraney not arrested until 20 years later when DNA tied him to the crime scene in Ozark.

Police say Beasley had been raped.

In the pretrial hearing, defense attorneys demanded to know the person who authorized the destruction of the Mazda 929 in which the bodies were found.

Attorney David Harrison said if the car had been retained as evidence, it could reveal the “real killer.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys also sparred over other evidence that could be presented during the potential several weeks long trial.

Jury selection is to begin on August 8, with the trial commencing the following week.

Dale County Circuit Judge William Filmore is mulling allowing more than the normal two alternates due to COVID concerns.

This story updated to reflect another hearing has been scheduled on August 4.

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