On July 31, 1999, high school seniors J.B. Hilton Green Beasley and Tracie Jean Hawlett, both 17 years old, left Dothan to celebrate Beasley’s birthday at a “field party” nearby. However, they never arrived.
Tracie had called her mother from a payphone, telling her that they had stopped for directions, because they were lost, and ended up in Ozark. A female employee of the gas station gave them directions back to Dothan. She watched them pull on to the highway, and that was the last time the girls were seen alive.
The police found Beasley’s 1993 black Mazda sedan at 9AM the following morning. The vehicle didn’t appear to have sustained any damage to indicate an accident. While searching the car, police made a gruesome discovery, the two girls were dead inside the trunk. They had both suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the head.
Authorities determined that after the girls drove off from the gas station, someone forced them to a remote location, performed sexual acts on them, and then shot them.
A mechanic, Johnny William Barrentine, was charged with the crime, but was cleared after his DNA did not match any DNA found at the scene.
There were no other suspects or leads.
In March of 2019, nearly twenty years after their deaths, police arrested Coley McCraney, 45, and charged him with J.B. and Tracie’s murders. DNA found on their bodies was matched to McCraney through genetic genealogy. Investigators submitted the DNA profile from the crime scene to a genealogical database.
McCraney is from Ozark, and lived in Dothan at the time of his arrest. He has no criminal record, and was not considered a suspect prior to the DNA match.
His trial begins in the spring of 2020.