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Marshall ‘Crime Stopper of the Year’ for role in ’99 cold case

After securing a guilty verdict in a double-murder cold case that haunted the Wiregrass region for more than 20 years, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is being recognized as “Crime Stopper of the Year” for his work as the state’s top law enforcement official.

Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama honored Marshall for, “prosecuting capital murderers, addressing fatal flaws in the criminal justice system and providing support to our men and women in blue.”

In April, Coley McCraney was found guilty on four counts of murder of the 1999 slaying of two teenage girls, capping a cold case with strange twists that rocked a small city for over two decades.

Dothan teens JB Beasley and Tracie Hawlett died that summer when their assailant forced them into the trunk of Beasley’s car and shot each in the head.

McCraney was arrested in 2019 after authorities say a DNA match was found through a family DNA website in a genealogy search.

“J.B. and Tracie were two young girls who were taken away from us far too early, and bringing their killer to justice reminded me why I became a prosecutor over two decades ago,” Marshall said.

It was McCraney’s DNA on one of the victim’s body that led to him being charged in connection with the slayings in March 2019. After receiving that report, police recognized McCraney’s name, questioned him, obtained a DNA match, and made an arrest.

Despite living a seemingly crime-free life and building a family in the two decades following the murders, McCraney is spending the rest of his life in jail.

“Justice is the value we place on the life that was wronged,” Marshall said. “And it is the bravery and resiliency displayed by so many victims that continues to enrich and inspire the pursuit for justice.

“Thank you, Crime Stoppers for the recognition and for highlighting my career prosecuting violent criminals as well as the work that my office does to protect the most vulnerable in our state.”

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 

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