Crime: Woman recants claims about cop involvement in 1999 slayings

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OZARK, Ala. (AP) — A woman whose claims about police being involved in the decades-old killings of two Alabama teens found dead in a car trunk fueled a social media frenzy several years ago now says she was lying the whole time.

A memorial to two Alabama teenagers killed in 1999 stands beside a road at Ozark, Ala., on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.  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 an Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler) © Provided by Associated Press A memorial to two Alabama teenagers killed in 1999 stands beside a road at Ozark, Ala., on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. 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 an Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

Rena Crumb, 53, recanted her allegations Thursday as she testified during a hearing for an Alabama trucker awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the slayings of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett, WTVY-TV reported. The victims were both 17 when they were shot to death in southeast Alabama and left in a car trunk in 1999.

Police: Suspect in slayings of 4 in Ohio arrested in Kansas

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The defense hoped Crumb's testimony about police wrongdoing could help clear their client. But after repeatedly saying she couldn’t recall certain things, Crumb blurted out: “I lied.”

Coley McCraney, 48, was arrested in the killings in 2019, or about four years after a blogger in southeast Alabama reported Crumb’s claims that police higher-ups had covered up an officer's involvement in the slayings. The allegations blew up on “true crime” websites and social media, leading to a defamation lawsuit against Crumb and others that was dismissed in 2018 after the blogger filed for bankruptcy.

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) © Provided by Associated Press 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)

Authorities have said DNA evidence led to the arrest of McCraney, who has pleaded not guilty in the slayings and to a charge that he raped one of the victims.

Suspect in Albuquerque Muslim killings denies involvement

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McCraney's defense asked a judge to let them present evidence that someone else killed the two, leading to the hearing in which Crumb, under questioning, said she hadn't told the truth. The officer who Crumb had accused took the stand and denied his involvement, as did an investigator who questioned Crumb earlier this year.

Defense attorney David Harrison suggested that Crumb was threatened to change her story.

Crumb, a one-time volunteer with the Ozark Police Department, did not respond to a Facebook message sent Friday seeking comment. Crumb received a suspended sentence and a $250 fine in 2016 after being convicted for harassing a sister of Beasley, Jacqui Burgoon, records show.

Dale County Circuit Judge William Filmore didn't immediately rule on what testimony jurors would be allowed to hear at McCraney's trial, set to begin Aug. 15. Defense lawyers asked the judge to prevent jurors from considering any evidence collected from the car where the bodies were discovered, saying the car has been crushed and is no longer available, preventing them from inspecting it.

Cowboys fear foot fracture for WR James Washington .
The Cowboys’ new-look receiving corps will be lighter on experience this year, and a Monday injury may push this situation more in that direction. © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Dallas Cowboys receiver James Washington (83) was injured Monday. After being carted away from practice, James Washington is feared to have suffered a Jones fracture in his foot, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The offseason addition is going through an MRI. The exam confirming these fears would lead to a lengthy absence for Washington, who was set to be a key contributor for the Cowboys — especially early in the season.

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