Three Oklahoma boys charged in killing of Australian student

OKLAHOMA CITY Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:50pm EDT

1 of 4. Combination photo shows three teenage boys L-R: James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, in Stephens County Sheriff's Office, Oklahoma, booking photos released on August 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stephens County Sheriff's Office/Handout

Related Topics

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Three teenage boys were charged on Tuesday in the killing of an Australian university student in Oklahoma, in what police said might have been a thrill killing.

Christopher Lane, 23, of Melbourne, was found dead of a gunshot wound on Friday, according to police in Duncan, Oklahoma, about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City.

Charged with first-degree murder are Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, according to the Stephens County District Attorney's office. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, who allegedly drove the vehicle carrying the other suspects, was charged with use of a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to murder after the fact, the office said.

Lane was out jogging during a visit to his girlfriend and her family in Duncan on Friday, when he was shot in the back, police said. He attended East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, where he was on a baseball scholarship.

According to police, Jones said that the teens decided to kill someone "for the fun of it."

Police said a witness called 911 when she saw Lane stagger across the road and fall.

According to police, Jones told them on Sunday that the three teenagers saw Lane jogging and decided he would be their target, and then followed him in their vehicle and shot Lane in the back.

Police used surveillance video from area businesses to identify the vehicle, which was found later at a church parking lot with the three suspects inside after a caller reported three youths with guns who were threatening to kill someone.

The vehicle's trunk contained a shotgun with the serial numbers sanded off, but the actual weapon used in the shooting has not been found, police said.

If convicted, Luna and Edwards face a possible sentence of life in prison without parole, according to court documents. Under a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, they cannot receive the death penalty because they were under 18 at the time of the alleged crime, according to David Slane, an Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney.

Lane's father, Peter Lane, called the killing "senseless" in an interview broadcast on CNN from Australia.

"There's not going to be any good coming out of this because it was so senseless," Lane said. "It happened, it's wrong and we're just trying to deal with it the best we can."

Duncan, the county seat of Stephens County, has a population of 23,287, according to the 2012 U.S. Census estimate.

In an interview on CNN television, Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said the usually quiet "community is outraged. The community has some fear." Ford said. "I think they have some of the same questions that maybe folks in Australia have, and that's about how do these kids get guns. It's pretty simple, they steal them."

In a statement, ECU baseball coach Dino Rosato said Lane was a well-respected teammate.

"He was an absolute joy to coach," said Rosato. "He set a great example for all of his teammates, but more importantly for the younger players. He was a mature student-athlete who his teammates could look to for advice and support."

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (18)
AZ1811 wrote:
Agree – the biggest racist in the country are Sharpton and Jackson, with Obama a close third.

They are trying to divide this country. Isn’t Obama a “black white man”.

I have something these kids can do to keep from being bored. Spend the next few months building a gallows. No – that would be too good for them.

Aug 20, 2013 6:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dualcitizen wrote:
Actually, (if the man he claims is his father really is)
Obama is 50% white,13% Black and 37% Arab. So, he’s more white than anything genetically speaking (yet he hates white people) and of course look at his czars and appointees, lots of Muslims, and he’s going to cut off aid to Egypt cause they’re standing up to militant Muslims. Send ‘em all packing.

Aug 20, 2013 6:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CinLA wrote:
Ok, countdown to how the kids were under privileged and that was the cause. At least this time they can’t play the race card too much. This was a very racially diverse bunch.

Aug 20, 2013 6:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.