Jeanette McCraney: Where is Coley McCraney’s Wife Now?

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On August 1, 1999, the bodies of two teenage girls, J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, were discovered inside a car. Both had been fatally shot, and forensic examination revealed traces of semen on Beasley’s body. The case remained unsolved for two decades until advancements in DNA analysis led authorities to identify Coley McCraney as a suspect. In March 2019, he was arrested and charged with murder. ABC’s ’20/20′ episode ‘Forever 17’ shows how Coley’s wife, Jeanette McCraney, stood by his side throughout the legal proceedings and even testified during his trial to save her husband.

Jeanette McCraney’s Husband Came Home Late on the Night of the Murders

Jeanette McCraney and Coley McCraney crossed paths in 1998, coinciding with Coley’s divorce from Zappharie L. McCraney. Coley had previously been stationed at the Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi but had transitioned to work as a long-haul truck driver. Their relationship deepened quickly, and by 1999, they were committed to building a life together. They acquired land in the Johntown area of Ozark, Alabama, near Coley’s mother’s residence, with plans to set up their trailer there after clearing the land.

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The night of July 31, 1999, when J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett were murdered, was not an ordinary one for Jeanette. She remembered that Coley had left home around 10 pm to go to his mother’s house to meet his 5-year-old son. At 11:30 pm, Jeanette locked the door of her house on Lisenby Street in Ozark, Alabama, as it was a nightly routine. However, Coley, who was supposed to return home after working on their Johntown property, was delayed. He wasn’t driving his car when he finally arrived at 12:45 am. Instead, he informed Jeanette that his vehicle had broken down and was parked near a convenience store.

She mentioned that she drove Coley to the convenience store, where they jumpstarted the car before returning home. Not noticing anything unusual in his demeanor, they continued their lives. The couple eventually tied the knot on June 25, 2000, and were blessed with two children, a son and a daughter. Two decades passed, and in 2019, they were approached by the police to provide DNA samples for an ongoing investigation. Jeanette stood by her husband as they went to the police station, fully cooperating with the authorities. Jeanette even volunteered to provide her own DNA sample for the investigation.

She contends that when she inquired whether they needed legal representation, the officers indicated it was merely an effort to widen their investigation. However, on March 19, 2019, Coley was apprehended during a traffic stop in Daleville, Alabama, following the revelation that DNA analysis matched his DNA to samples found at the crime scene. Prosecutors asserted that Coley encountered the girls at the convenience store, subsequently held them at gunpoint, assaulted Beasley, and ultimately shot both girls in the trunk of the car before abandoning the vehicle elsewhere and walking home.

Jeanette McCraney Believes in Coley’s Innocence Till Today

A day following Coley McCraney’s arrest, Jeanette McCraney convened a press conference where she asserted her husband’s innocence. She contended that the DNA sample extraction had been conducted under “false pretenses” and lamented the portrayal of her husband, which she vehemently disagreed with. She maintained that her husband was a man of faith and integrity who prioritized his family, and she adamantly believed he had been wrongfully apprehended. While extending condolences to the families of the victims, she adamantly asserted that the individual law enforcement sought was not her husband.

In 2023, during Coley’s trial, Jeanette was summoned to testify. Recounting the events of that night in meticulous detail, she emphasized that she observed no mud or dirt on her husband’s clothing. Despite Coley being convicted of the murders and receiving a sentence of life without parole, Jeanette steadfastly maintained her defense of him. In May 2023, she actively participated in a rally advocating for a retrial. She said, “We are just trying to bring awareness to my husband’s arrest, his wrongful conviction. That’s what we are out here fighting for because in the wake of trying to get a new trial and everything we want to let him know that he has support and we are standing up for everybody that has been wrongfully convicted on DNA alone.”

As of writing, Jeanette has made Dothan, Alabama, her home and has been outspoken in her unwavering support for her husband. Surrounded by a strong network of family and friends who share her belief in Coley’s innocence, she finds solace in the love and backing of her two children and the supportive community around her. Despite facing daunting challenges ahead and the uncertainty of legal proceedings, Jeanette remains resolute in her determination to stand by Coley’s side and confront whatever obstacles may arise along the way.

Read More: Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley Murders: Where is Coley McCraney Now?