A 45-year-old man who was arrested over the weekend in connection to the cold case murders of two teens, is an ‘outstanding’ individual, according to his lawyer.

Coley McCraney, 45, was arrested on Saturday and has been accused of killing 17-year-olds Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley in 1999.

His attorney David Harrison says his client is an ‘outstanding member’ of the community and is cooperating with law enforcement.

Coley McCraney

Harrison said it’s going to be difficult to find a jury that’s not already aware of the case and that he might have to ask for another venue to get a fair trial.


Meanwhile, District Attorney Kirke Adams has said he plans to seek the death penalty against McCraney.

Adams says McCraney can be prosecuted for capital murder in the killings.

He told a news conference on Monday that one of the multiple capital counts against the man includes a charge that one of the victims was sexually assaulted during her killing in 1999.

The prosecutor said he decided years ago to pursue the slayings as a death-penalty case.

A DNA breakthrough led to McCraney’s arrest on Saturday in connection to the cold case murders.

The two 17-year-old girls were found dead in the trunk of J.B.’s car in 1999, a day after being reported missing by their families.

They vanished on their way home from a party in Ozark, Alabama.

The girls’ families believe they had got lost on their way home and stopped at a gas station when they were attacked.

Both girls had been shot once in the head and one of them had been raped.

Police collected DNA from the scene but for years they had been unable to find a match to a potential suspect.

However, a recent search found a match to one of McCraney’s relatives who had voluntarily submitted their DNA to find out more about their ancestry.


McCraney has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of rape.

He is being held at the Dale County Jail with no bond.


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