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Lack of jurors forces delay in Alabama double murder trial

August 10, 2022 GMT
This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney.  A woman who fueled a social media frenzy with claims about police being involved in the killings of two Alabama teens found dead in a car trunk in 1999 testified that she was lying the whole time. Rena Crumb, 53, recanted her allegations Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022,  during a hearing for the Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported.  (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney.  A woman who fueled a social media frenzy with claims about police being involved in the killings of two Alabama teens found dead in a car trunk in 1999 testified that she was lying the whole time. Rena Crumb, 53, recanted her allegations Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022,  during a hearing for the Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported.  (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney.  A woman who fueled a social media frenzy with claims about police being involved in the killings of two Alabama teens found dead in a car trunk in 1999 testified that she was lying the whole time. Rena Crumb, 53, recanted her allegations Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022,  during a hearing for the Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported.  (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney. A woman who fueled a social media frenzy with claims about police being involved in the killings of two Alabama teens found dead in a car trunk in 1999 testified that she was lying the whole time. Rena Crumb, 53, recanted her allegations Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, during a hearing for the Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported. (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This Saturday, March 16, 2019 booking photo provided by the Dale County Sheriff's Office, shows Coley McCraney. A woman who fueled a social media frenzy with claims about police being involved in the killings of two Alabama teens found dead in a car trunk in 1999 testified that she was lying the whole time. Rena Crumb, 53, recanted her allegations Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, during a hearing for the Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported. (Dale County Sheriff's Office via AP)

OZARK, Ala. (AP) — A judge rescheduled the trial of an Alabama trucker charged with murder in the killings of two teenagers in 1999 after too few jurors showed up for the start of the case.

Dale County Circuit Court Judge William H. Filmore delayed the trial of Coley McCraney, 48, in a one-sentence order issued Tuesday, records showed.

Only 75 of 250 prospective jurors showed up for the start of jury selection on Monday, and that number was quickly reduced for reasons including a large amount of publicity about the killings and McCraney’s arrest. WTVY-TV reported. With too few people from which attorneys could select a jury, the judge called off the trial until next year.

J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, both 17, disappeared after heading out for a party in southeastern Alabama on July 31, 1999. Their bodies were found the next day in the trunk of Beasley’s black Mazda along a road in Ozark, with each teen shot in the head.

The case sat for decades without an arrest until police hired a company to run crime scene DNA through an online genealogy database. McCraney, who has pleaded not guilty, was arrested in 2019 after authorities said they had found a match with genetic material found at the crime scene.