OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — Attorneys in an Ozark capital murder case are trying to clear up any potential roadblocks in advance of the upcoming jury trial and they’re hoping the court agrees to their suggested changes.

Coley McCraney is accused of killing Tracie Hawlett and JB Beasley in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2019 that he was arrested.

The case has gone back and forth through the court due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, they attempted to seat a jury in Ozark two weeks before the capital case was supposed to start, but they couldn’t seat an unbiased jury. Now attorneys are trying to prevent that from happening again.

Especially now that Attorney General Steve Marshall will be prosecuting in the case. Adding even more eyes to this case that was cold for nearly twenty years.

Mccraney’s attorneys are filing requested jury instructions for the judge to issue. One of which asks for the court to prohibit the death penalty without a unanimous jury verdict. This means if McCraney is found guilty that he would need a unanimous verdict in favor of the death penalty, if it is not unanimous McCraney would serve life in prison without the chance for parole.

Another instruction of interest is the defense asking for the ability to use evidence and argue lingering uncertainty about facts, also known as residual doubt.

Judge William Filmore will rule on these instructions, as we inch closer and closer to opening arguments in the case of Coley McCraney.

His trial is set to begin on April 17.