Arrest in 1999 double homicide offers new ‘beginning’ for victims’ families

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OZARK, Ala. (WDHN) — The Ozark Police Department held a press conference Monday morning where it was able to confirm information about the 20-year-old Beasley-Hawlett cold case that had floated around the Wiregrass the past few days.

“On March 15, 2019, investigators located and arrested 45-year-old, black male, Coley McCraney,” Ozark police Chief Marlos Walker said.

After his DNA matched DNA left at the 1999 crime scene, McCraney was apprehended while traveling through Daleville on March 15, 2019.

“Phenotyping gave us a description of an unknown suspect,” Walker said. “Genetic genealogy helped us to identify the family from which he descended and kinship testing ultimately narrowed the suspect list down to a single individual.”

McCraney now faces five capital murder charges and is currently being held in the Dale County Jail with no bond. 

As for the Beasley and Hawlett families, investigators say they hope this process will bring answers as well as peace.

“Today is a beginning,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said. “It’s not ultimately justice for you, but what I hope it does is begin to provide some answers that you’ve thought about for almost twenty years now.”

No preliminary hearing date has been set.

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