DNA match leads to arrest in 1999 Alabama slaying, rape case

Investigators in Alabama say a DNA match found through a genealogy website led them to arrest 45-year-old Coley McCraney.

Posted: Mar 18, 2019 9:52 AM
Updated: Mar 18, 2019 12:02 PM

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - The Latest on an arrest in the 1999 killings of two Alabama teenagers (all times local):

10:35 a.m.

A prosecutor says he'll seek the death penalty against a man charged in the slayings of two Alabama teenagers nearly 20 years ago.

District Attorney Kirke Adams says 45-year-old Coley McCraney can be prosecuted for capital murder in the killings of 17-year-olds Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley.

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

Authorities say they used DNA matching to confirm that evidence from the killings was tied to McCraney.

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

McCraney was arrested Saturday. A defense lawyer says the man is cooperating with authorities.

___

9:35 a.m.

The lawyer for a suspect in the 1999 deaths of two Alabama teenagers says he's an outstanding member of the community and is cooperating with law enforcement.

Investigators in Alabama say a DNA match found through a genealogy website led them to arrest 45-year-old Coley McCraney.

McCraney faces rape and capital murder charges in the slayings of 17-year-olds Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley. The girls had left Dothan, Alabama, to attend a party but never arrived. They were later found in the trunk of a car, each with a gunshot wound to the head.

Attorney David Harrison tells The Associated Press 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.

___

1:30 a.m.

Authorities in Alabama say a DNA match found through a genealogy website has led to an arrest in decades-old slaying and rape case.

Al.com reports 45-year-old Coley McCraney, of Dothan, was arrested Saturday and charged with rape and capital murder in the 1999 deaths of 17-year-olds Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley. Ozark police and Dale County sheriff's officials are scheduled to hold a press conference about the case on Monday.

The girls left Dothan the night of July 3, 1999, to attend a party, but they never arrived. The pair was found the next day in the trunk of Beasley's car alongside a road in Ozark, each with a gunshot wound to the head.

A different suspect was cleared after his DNA didn't match that from semen found on Beasley.

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