Judge strikes blow to accused coed killer Coley McCraney’s defense

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 4:57 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A Dale County judge dealt a blow to Coley McCraney’s defense in a ruling he issued late Friday.

Evidence that others than McCraney killed two Dothan teens will not be allowed during his upcoming murder trial.

His attorneys hoped to implicate a now retired police officer who had been rumored as the killer, but a woman whose claims spearheaded those rumors were recanted on Thursday.

Rena Crumb testified during a pretrial hearing that she lied about officer involvement and police coverup.

“The Defendant can only introduce evidence of another’s guilt at trial that is legal evidence. The Defendant cannot prove guilt of another by hearsay statements, especially statements that when under oath are recanted,” Judge William Filmore wrote in his order.

He also nixed potential testimony from others who claimed they may have seen police cars near the crime scene in Ozark and who also suggest officer involvement in the high school students’ death.

“The evidence offered as relevant to another’s guilt must be inconsistent with the guilt of the accused. In the face of the DNA evidence against (McCraney), the Court does not find that the evidence presented by the defense would exonerate the Defendant,” Filmore wrote.

Prosecutors say the only tangible evidence –DNA– points directly to McCraney who is charged with capital murder and rape related to the 1999 shootings.

He was arrested 20 years later when that DNA linked him to the crime.

David Harrison, McCraney’s attorney, warned the judge that not allowing alternative theories into trial could be grounds for reversal on appeal.

Jury selection is to begin Monday with McCraney’s trial commencing one week later.

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