OZARK — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall will prosecute the Ozark man charged with five counts of murder and one first-degree rape in connection with the 1999 deaths of two Dothan teenagers.
Marshall and Assistant Attorney General Jimmy Thomas will represent the state in the upcoming trial of Coley McCraney, who has been in the Dale County Jail since his March 16, 2019 arrest.
The attorney general’s office is taking the case at the request of District Attorney for the 33rd Judicial Circuit Kirke Adams, Marshall’s communications director Mike Lewis said Tuesday. Adams declined to comment, citing a court “gag order” related to the case.
In a court document filed with Dale County Circuit Court clerk Delores Woodham last Friday, Marshall requested that all court orders, briefs and files be forwarded to his Montgomery office.
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McCraney’s new trial is scheduled to begin on April 17, 2023. Dale County Circuit Judge William Filmore set the trial date last Wednesday, the same day he denied McCraney’s bail request.
Marshall was among the justice officials present at the 2019 press conference at Ozark City Hall announcing McCraney’s arrest in the 20-year shooting case of JB Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, whose bodies were found in the trunk of Beasley’s car parked on Herring Avenue in Ozark.
“Today, everyone who has sought justice for Tracie Hawlett and JB Beasley — including all residents of the Wiregrass — in this long and painful case is finally nearing closure,” Marshall said in a written statement following McCraney’s 2019 arrest. “For For two decades, the families of Tracie Hawlett and JB Beasley have searched for answers and a suspect in the unsolved brutal murders of their 17-year-old girl.
“DNA evidence found from Beasley’s body and clothing helped profile the suspect, but despite our best combined efforts, law enforcement has never been able to find a genetic match — until now,” Marshall said at the time.
McCraney, who was then residing in Dothan, had no criminal record, which previously made his DNA profile available to law enforcement on the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), Marshall said. “McCraney remained anonymous to investigators until new DNA testing of forensic evidence using family gene analysis eventually led prosecutions to McCraney as a suspect.”