DALE COUNTY, Ala (WDHN) — Nearly a month after his conviction, Coley McCraney’s defense team is seeking a new trial, claiming jury misconduct.
On April 26, McCraney was found guilty of killing teenagers JB Beasley and Tracie Hawlett after a two-week trial. He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
According to David Harrison, McCraney’s lead attorney, throughout the trial, at least three jurors were posting about the trial on social media, and one juror was seen on their smartwatch during the duration of the trial. Both actions break the rules set out for jurors at the beginning of the trial.
Juror misconduct will justify a new trial when it indicates bias or corruption, or when misconduct affected the verdict, or when from the extraneous facts prejudice may be presumed as a matter of law.Attorney David Harrison- Motion for a New Trial
Harrison also says that during deliberation, one of the jurors sent a question to the court inquiring about a “Brady Violation”, indicating the jury was researching or relying on outside information, which was also against the rules. Harrison described a “Brady Violation” as when the state or authorities withholds evidence that proves the defendant is innocent.
Harrison and Attorney Andrew Scarborough first hinted at an investigation into juror misconduct and a possible new trial during a post-trial press conference.
Judge William Filmore set a hearing to discuss the possibility of a new trial for Monday, July 17, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. in the Dale County Courthouse.
McCraney’s defense team had thirty days to appeal for a new trial.