Lack of jurors forces delay in Alabama double murder trial
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.