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March 18, 2019

For media inquiries only, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Steve Marshall
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Alabama Attorney General

Attorney General Steve Marshall Statement on Arrest of Suspect in Murders of
Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley in 20-Year-Old Wiregrass Cold Case
(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued the following statement
today concerning the arrest of a suspect for the 1999 murders of Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley
of Dothan.
“For two decades the families of Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley have sought answers and a
suspect in the unsolved brutal murders of their 17-year-old girls. On the night of July 31, 1999,
Hawlett and Beasley went together to a party in nearby Headland and lost their way. Sadly,
they never made it back to their families. Their bodies were found the next day in the trunk of
Beasley’s car. Both girls had been shot in the head.
“DNA evidence recovered from Beasley’s body and clothing helped to create a profile of the
suspect, but despite our best combined efforts law enforcement were never able to find a
genetic match – until now. On Friday, March 15, 2019, members of the Ozark Police
Department’s Investigations Division, as well as Agents with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office arrested* Coley Lewis McCraney in
Dale County, Alabama, on charges of capital murder and rape. McCraney, a resident of Dothan,
had no prior criminal record which would have previously provided his DNA profile to law
enforcement in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) run by the FBI. McCraney has
remained anonymous to investigators until new DNA testing of forensic evidence utilizing
family genetic analysis finally led law enforcement to McCraney as a suspect.
“I wish to commend Chief Marlos Walker and the Ozark Police Department for their exemplary
investigative work that ultimately led us to identifying a suspect and making an arrest on
Friday. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office, the Ozark Police Department, the Dale County
Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, District Attorney Kirke Adams, and other law enforcement agencies have been
supporting this investigation for many years. We will continue our efforts to assist in the
investigation including providing digital forensic evidence analysis.
“Today, all who have sought justice for Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley – including all the
residents of the Wiregrass – are finally near closure in this long and painful case.”
*An arrest is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300