DALE COUNTY, Ala (WDHN) — A former Death row inmate has been called as a witness in one of the biggest murder trials in Wiregrass history.
According to Alabama Court documents, Emanuel Gissendanner, Jr. is the 131 witness in the trial of Coley McCraney.
Gissendanner was charged with the 2001 murder of 77-year-old Margaret Snellgrove. He was convicted of capital murder and had been on death row since 2004, but in 2010, Judge Kenneth Quattlebaum, who presided over Gissendanner’s first trial, ordered a new one after his attorneys allegedly made unprofessional errors while defending him.
In 2019, after 18 years on death row and wanting to avoid another trial, Gissendanner entered a plea of guilty and was released from prison. Before he entered the plea, Gissendanner was placed in a cell with McCraney in the Dale County Jail.
Attorney David Harrison claimed Gissendanner was placed in the same cell as McCraney because authorities wanted to obtain knowledge or get a confession from his client.
McCraney, who was arrested in 2019, is accused of killing teenagers Tracie Hawlett and J.B Beasley in the summer of 1999.
McCraney’s long-awaited trial is expected to start Monday, April, 17.