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Accused killers bored: prosecutor

Australian ball player shot in the back

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James Francis Edwards Jr., Michael Dewayne Jones, Chancey Allen Luna.

STEPHENS COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

James Francis Edwards Jr., Michael Dewayne Jones, Chancey Allen Luna.

DUNCAN, Okla. -- With a motive that's both chilling and simple -- to break up the boredom of an Oklahoma summer -- three teenagers randomly targeted an Australian collegiate baseball player who was attending school in the U.S. and killed him for fun, prosecutors said Tuesday as they charged two of the boys with murder.

Prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys "thugs" as he described how Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, was shot once in the back and died along a tree-lined road on Duncan's well-to-do north side. He said the three teens chose Lane at random and one of the boys "thinks it's all a joke."

Hicks charged Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, with first-degree murder.

Under Oklahoma law they will be tried as adults.

Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.

Jones wept in the courtroom after he tried to speak about the incident but was cut off by the judge who said it wasn't the time to sort out the facts of the case. Jones faces anywhere from two years to life in prison if convicted on the counts he faces.

The two younger teens face life in prison without parole if convicted on the murder charge.

"I'm appalled," Hicks said after the hearing. "This is not supposed to happen in this community."

In court, Hicks said Luna was sitting in the back seat of a car when he pulled the trigger on a .22-calibre revolver and shot Lane once in the back.

Hicks said Jones was driving the vehicle and Edwards was in the passenger seat.

Edwards has had prior run-ins with the law and came to court Friday -- apparently after the shooting -- to sign documents related to his juvenile probation.

"I believe this man is a threat to the community and should not be let out," Hicks said as he requested no bond for Edwards. "He thinks it's all a joke."

The two younger boys were held without bond; bond was set at $1 million for Jones.

Lane played baseball at East Central University in Ada, east of Duncan, and had been visiting his girlfriend and her parents in Duncan after he and his girlfriend returned to the U.S. from Australia about a week ago.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2013 A11

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