McCraney team wants jurors to see crime scene, prosecutors object

Suspected killer Coley McCraney is escorted into the Dale County Courthouse on April 13, 2023.
Suspected killer Coley McCraney is escorted into the Dale County Courthouse on April 13, 2023.(WTVY)
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 1:58 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A judge will rule by Monday whether jurors in Coley McCraney’s murder trial should view the crime scene and nearby areas.

“From the start of this case, the (investigating) officer said a big reason he charged Mr. McCraney is because (he lived near the scene),” defense attorney David Harrison said during a hearing on Thursday.

Harrison expressed concerns about what he called police suspicions regarding McCraney moving to another residence in 1999, a few days after officers discovered the bodies of JB Beasley and Tracie Hawlett in Ozark.

Harrison claims McCraney moved only 1.7 miles away and believes if jurors surveyed the area, it would give them a better understanding of geography and the crime scene.

But Dale County Assistant Attorney Emmett Massey told Judge William Filmore that taking jurors from the courtroom would serve no valuable purpose in pursuing justice and there are plenty of photos for them to see.

As for Harrison, during the 45-minute hearing, he did not mention DNA that police obtained in 2019 that convincingly shows that McCraney had a sexual encounter with Ms. Beasley.

Harrison and co-counsel Andrew Scarborough also want evidence taken from the Mazda 929 where police found the bodies suppressed because, in about 2005, someone unrelated to the case purchased that car.

Prosecutors say all evidence taken from the vehicle has been made available to the defense.

Jury selection begins Monday, with testimony possibly beginning by Wednesday.

Judge Filmore will tell jurors it is their decision whether there should be court on Saturday and Monday, April 24, which is a state holiday.

If convicted, McCraney would receive either life without parole or the death penalty.

Watch JB and Tracie: The Teen Murders here.

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