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Nation/World

August 21, 2013

3 teens charged in random slaying of Australian ballplayer

DUNCAN, Okla. — With the simplest of motives — breaking up the boredom of an Oklahoma summer — three teenagers followed an Australian collegiate baseball player who was attending school in the U.S. and killed him with a shot to the back for “the fun of it,” prosecutors said yesterday as they charged two of the teens with murder.

As the boys appeared in an Oklahoma courtroom, a 17-year-old blurted out, “I pulled the trigger,” then wept after a judge told him that yesterday’s hearing wasn’t the time or place to sort out the facts of the case.

Prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys “thugs” as he told Stephens County Judge Jerry Herberger how Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, died on a city street.

Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, of Duncan were charged with first-degree murder and, under Oklahoma law, will be tried as adults. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan was accused of using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.

“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 rear seat of a car when he pulled the trigger on a .22 caliber 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 run-ins with the law previously and had been in court Friday, the day of the killing, 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.”

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