DALE COUNTY, Ala (WDHN) — During the second day of witness testimonies, no evidence was brought linking suspect Coley McCraney to the 1999 summer murder of JB Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, other than possible DNA samples found on Beasley.

McCraney was arrested in 2019 after investigators claimed they linked him to DNA found on Beasley. The two girls were found shot to death in the trunk of Beasley’s Mazda 929 on Herring Drive in Ozark on Sunday, August 1, 1999. The case went cold for nearly 20 years until McCraney’s arrest.

The defense, led by attorney David Harrison, is trying to prove that McCraney had consensual sex with Beasley and left after giving the lost girls directions to Highway 231 heading towards Dothan. The prosecution, led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, claims McCraney held the girls at gunpoint, forced them to go to another location, raped Beasley, and forced them into the trunk of Beasley’s Mazda 929, before shooting and killing both girls.

The prosecution, called multiple expert witnesses to the stand, all with backgrounds in forensics and who investigated the murders while working for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Defense attorneys Harrison and Andrew Scarborough cross-examined the expert witnesses, asking them if any of the DNA evidence found on either of the victims could prove that McCraney either raped Beasley or killed both girls. Each of the expert witnesses said the evidence they had could not prove McCraney did it.

“Did you find any first-hand evidence that Coley McCraney murdered these girls? Do you have any first-hand evidence that Coley McCraney raped these girls?” Harrison asked witness Marc Crews, retired Lab Director for the Alabama Department of Forensics Dothan Laboratory. Crews simply responded “No,”

Other expert witnesses who worked for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in 1999 included:

  • Katharine McGeehan- A forensic biologist who described the basics of DNA to the jury and assisted in the testing of the swabs from Beasley.
  • Michael Hitchcock- A forensic biologist who said the swabs taken from Beasley confirmed the presence of semen.
  •  Katherine Richert- A forensic scientist and ballistics expert who examined the evidence found at the scene of the crime, stating the bullets were 9mm. Winchester brand that was fired from the same gun.
  • Dr. Gregory Wanger- A retired forensic pathologist who used graphic crime scenes and autopsy photos to describe the manner of death of both girls. Dr. Wanger also said that DNA evidence alone cannot establish if any sexual contact is consensual or rape.

The prosecution is expected to bring additional expert witnesses to speak on the DNA evidence in the coming days.

The court dismissed at 4:25 p.m., during the testimony of former State Investigator Barry Tucker. Tucker is expected to take the stand again when the court reconvenes at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning.