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Truck-driving preacher arrested for cold case murders

Another cold case cracked thanks to same genealogy database techniques used to apprehend the suspected "Golden State Killer" last year.

Posted: Mar 19, 2019 3:57 AM
Updated: Mar 20, 2019 3:39 AM

OZARK, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for a man arrested and accused of the 1999 killings of two teenage girls in Alabama says the man maintains his innocence.

David Harrison, an attorney for Coley McCraney, said Tuesday that he expects McCraney to testify at any trial.

Police on Friday arrested McCraney in the 1999 killings of Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley. Law enforcement ran crime scene DNA though an online genealogy database to help identify McCraney as a suspect. The 45-year-old Dothan man faces counts of capital murder, including one accusing him of killing Beasley during a sexual assault.

Harrison said he isn't worried about the DNA evidence since his client "absolutely maintains his innocence."

McCraney's relatives are expected to speak at a news conference Wednesday morning, Harrison said.

Updated 03/20/19 3:38 a.m.


OZARK, Ala. (AP) - A truck-driving preacher arrested for killing two teenage girls from Alabama nearly 20 years ago was found by the same genealogy database techniques used to apprehend the suspected "Golden State Killer" last year.

Police on Friday arrested 45-year-old Coley McCraney of Dothan, Alabama, for the 1999 killings of Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley. The two 17-year-olds left home for a party and never returned. Their bodies were found the next day in the trunk of Beasley's car.

The technique runs crime scene DNA through genealogy databases to try to help identify a suspect.

Ozark Police Chief Marlos Walker said they decided to use the technology in the Alabama cold case.

CeCe Moore of Parabon NanoLabs, which did the search in the Alabama case, said interest has ballooned since the Golden State killer arrest.

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