DNA helps solve unsolvable cold cases

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) —Family DNA tests have been extremely popular, and they are the driving force behind many popular cold cases, two of them right here in the Wiregrass.

On March 15, investigators located and arrested black male Coley McCraney. It was nearly 20 years ago the two girls were found murdered, but with DNA collected at the scene from J.B. Beasley’s body, authorities may have found a suspect in this case.

DNA is a biological footprint of everyone. Everyone has DNA and its different from others. 

In 2012, Nathaniel Dennis was arrested and charged with allegedly shooting Earnest Russell Douglas. During the time of the crime in 1981, a DNA test was not available. In 1996, a break came through.  The DNA found at the scene of the crime was tested, but that DNA evidence was sent back and it remained a cold case until 14 years later.

“It was 25 years ago nationally that we got our first exposure nationally to the significance of DNA in the O.J. Simpson’s trial it can either acquit or convict, “Samuel Cherry said.

Reports made said Coley McCraney’s DNA matched the stains found on J.B’s sweater, and partial DNA collected from a semen fraction found in her underwear.

“It has revolutionized for the most part the prosecution of old cases or old cases as they are often time referred and in many cases it’s the differences between a conviction and exoneration, “Cherry said.

Coley McCraney’s formal arraignment will take place on August 8th. Nathaniel Dennis trial is expected to end by Friday, June 14th. 

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