Coley McCraney demands life be spared without unanimous jury vote
He is charged with killing Dothan teens J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett in 1999 in one of Alabama most infamous cases. Not until 20 years later after the coeds were murdered did DNA implicate Coley McCraney whose most serious charge until then had been speeding through a construction zone.
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Suspected killer Coley McCraney wants a judicial order that, if convicted, all 12 jurors must agree for the death penalty to be imposed.
A motion filed by his attorneys this week cites a widely used Florida ruling that, without a unanimous vote, the death penalty is unconstitutional.
McCraney, 49, will be tried next month on Capital Murder charges related to the 1999 shootings of two Dothan teens.
J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett were discovered in Ozark, 35 miles from a field party to which they never arrived in 1999.
Related: Suspected killer declares innocence in teens’ murders
Defense attorneys David Harrison and Andrew Scarborough base their unanimous vote motion on a case stemming from a Pensacola murder case that altered Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme.
Alabama declined to adopt those guidelines and based upon other rulings it seems doubtful that Dale County Circuit Judge William Filmore will grant McCraney’s request.
The only other sentencing option for Capital Murder is life without parole.
Related: Woman who implicated officer in coeds’ murder recants her claims
Not until 20 years after the coeds were murdered did DNA implicate Coley McCraney whose most serious charge until then had been speeding through a construction zone.
His trial is to begin on April 17, eight months after Judge Filmore declared a mistrial because not enough jurors could be seated in the first attempt.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is lead prosecutor, assuming that role from a Dale County assistant district attorney seriously injured in a biking accident.
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