3 teens charged after Australian player slain

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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 Tuesday as they charged two of the teens with murder.

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Sarah Harper,Christopher Lane's girlfriend, stands beside a memorial along the road where police say Lane, an Australian baseball player was shot and killed Friday by three "bored" teenagers who decided to kill someone for fun, in Duncan, Okla.  Kristi Easton
Kristi Easton
Sarah Harper,Christopher Lane's girlfriend, stands beside a memorial along the road where police say Lane, an Australian baseball player was shot and killed Friday by three "bored" teenagers who decided to kill someone for fun, in Duncan, Okla.

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 Tuesday’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, also 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.”

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

Family and friends on two continents mourned Lane, who gave up pursuit of an Australian football career to pursue his passion for baseball. His girlfriend, Sarah Harper, tearfully laid a cross at a streetside memorial in Duncan, while half a world away, an impromptu memorial grew at the home plate he protected as a catcher on his youth team.

“We just thought we’d leave it,” Harper said as she visited the memorial on Duncan’s north, well-to-do side. “This is his final spot.”

Flowers, photos and an Australian flag already adorned the roadside tribute.

“I don’t know anybody who’s left this. It means a lot,” she said.

Police Chief Dan Ford has said the boys wanted to overcome a boring end to their summer vacation – classes in Duncan resumed Tuesday – and that Jones told officers that they were bored and killed Lane for “the fun of it.”

Lane played at East Central University in Ada, 85 miles east of Duncan, and had been visiting Harper and her parents after they returned to the U.S. from Australia about a week ago.

His old team, Essendon, scheduled a memorial game for Sunday to raise funds for Lane’s parents as they worked to have their son’s remains sent home.

At Essendon Catholic School, Lane will be remembered at a November Mass in which all former students who have died are mourned and celebrated, former school captain David Ireland told The Age newspaper in Melbourne.

“He was the sort of guy at school who everyone knew and knew quite well,” Ireland said of Lane. “He loved his footy (Australian football) and his sport and spent a lot of time with mates.”

Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper reported that roses and a baseball were placed Monday on the home plate where Lane played as a youth with the message, “A wonderful young man taken too soon. Why?”

Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer criticized the National Rifle Association and asked Australians to avoid the U.S. as a way to force its Congress to act on gun control.

“Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice,” Fischer told the Herald Sun. “This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA that even blocked background checks for people buying guns at gunshows. People should take this into account before going to the United States. I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers (but) it’s a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA. There is a gun for almost every American.”

Tara Harper, Sarah Harper’s cousin, said her family was working with the Lanes on funeral arrangements but that the girlfriend didn’t want to attend court proceedings.

“She wants nothing to do with them. She doesn’t want to see them. She doesn’t want to hear them,” Tara Harper said. “I don’t think we’ll ever know why it happened. No answer will ever be satisfying, no matter what it is.”

Police said they had been called to a home in Duncan’s gritty east side in response to a possible shooting. At the home Tuesday, pieces of cement with the phrases “happiness lives in hearts that love” and “with God all things are possible” written on them sat cracked on the front porch.

One window was covered with foil, and cardboard and a satellite dish was perched on the roof. No one answered at the home or at homes next door or across the street.

At the site of the shooting, Bill Renfrow, 85, said he saw emergency workers tending to Lane and believed there had been a hit-and-run accident behind his home.

“It’s very saddening. It’s a terrible thing to happen. It’s so unusual,” he said, later adding: “He was a guest in the country.”

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Farmboy 08/20/13 - 07:58 pm
I would love to comment on this..

But to be honest, I really don't think it would be a good idea for me to say what I want to say. I think I will just leave it at that.

vinnydelicious 08/20/13 - 08:50 pm
I bet you I can guess the race of the subjects

Wonder why pictures of the subjects aren't posted as well. Oh wait...never mind

mosovich 08/20/13 - 09:30 pm
Yeah, they're posted everywhere else...

Why not here.. Why not have Al and Jesse comment on this "outrageous act" where a young mans life has been taken by three thugs..

Casting_Fool 08/21/13 - 03:08 am
The NRA had nothing to do

The NRA had nothing to do with this senseless murder. The boys weren't of legal age to carry a weapon, and I doubt very much that they purchased it at a gun show. I hope that Mr. Fischer realizes that travel bans work both ways. Why should I visit a country that wants to interfere with my rights and responsibilities as an American?

pantherluvcik 08/21/13 - 05:29 am
shortcomment I fail to see

shortcomment I fail to see what this senseless act has to do with a kid being beaten by a rogue police officer. I swear you people find every way possible to connect cases that are totally unrelated so you can justify race bashing.
I have no sympathy for murderers of any race and i'm sure you confuse Jesse Jackson and other's who defend CIVIL RIGHTS violations with their defense of criminal actions. I don't recall one case where they defended the criminal acts of an African American or any other race. Believe it or not even criminals have rights and once we start forgetting that it makes it that much easier for them to start abusing everyones civil rights.
Quit race baiting and then taking offense when someone calls you out on it.

pantherluvcik 08/21/13 - 05:38 am
Condolences to the family and

Condolences to the family and friends of this young man. I hope that the suspects are prosecuted and sentenced accordingly. Anyone who kills for anything less than self preservation or the preservation of others is a waste of oxygen. Unfortunately we live in a society where generations are being desensatized by the second. Parents are allowing video games and televisions to raise their children, what a waste. I feel sorry for future generations.

rmwhitley 08/21/13 - 08:49 am
I'm waiting to

hear the indignation of those 4 notorious punks who love injecting their opinions when a negro is shot: obama, holder, sharpton and jackson. It is now proven that the negro race is given carte blanche in killing INNOCENT caucasians. Time to rethink civilizing a race that can't be civilized.

deestafford 08/21/13 - 08:53 am
These were three black thugs from the "gritty" part of town.

Do you want to bet there is no daddy in the home?

As far as buying at a gun show with no background check goes...that is hog wash. If you buy from a dealer at the gun show they run an instant background check on you right there,

Australia used to be such a great independent country until they went to the dark side of the left and banned the ownership of guns.

whyme 08/21/13 - 09:07 am
here's what needs to happen

It would be nice to have leaders of the black community to stand up and demand for justice to be served, apologize for the young men's behavior, etc. However, if this is going to become another race issue, leaders of the white community need to be just as outspoken, set up rallies, get the media behind the story and let everyone go at it again just like they did for the Martin-Zimmerman issue. The white community chooses not to do this so there is no one to blame but themselves, although one might say that these actions are not dignified or classy. Here's what should happen: we as Americans-black, white, biracial, Hispanic, Asian, etc.-should stop allowing the media to bait us into fighting each other, encouraging controversy which divides, not unites us. Instead, we should band together as citizens and insist that crimes should be addressed fairly and will be determined only in a court of law. And furthermore, in the court, these situations should not be treated as games, even though that is how it is set up as evidenced by the jury selection and the terminology of "winning" or "losing" a case.

southern2 08/21/13 - 09:15 am
Bet if the racial aspect of

Bet if the racial aspect of this U. S. street massacre was reversed we would see Jesse and Al leading civil unrest in 100 cities across the country and Obama having a 19th hole press conference declaring if he had sons they would look like these bored teenagers. All with ABC, CBS, and NBC supplying dominating coverage for a week. This will be shrugged off like the school bus video from Florida last week, another three on one incident.

nocnoc 08/21/13 - 09:20 am
Looked at the mug shots

2 are no doubt black teens
However, the shooter looks to be of Mix race?

I understand the 15 y/o comment.

Put a gun in a teens hand and he can kill you just like an adult.
So I understand why every police officer initial contact must be treated like the 12 to 100 y/o could be armed now a days.

Age has nothing to do with it.

What was the outcome of the Burglary call that started that recent incident?

Was the homeowner ID / description of suspects clothing build etc. in line with the teens stopped?

Was the attempted burglary case followed through?
Or was it dropped because of the high profile media issues?

Red Headed Step Child
Red Headed Step Child 08/21/13 - 09:33 am
To be fair, it would be

To be fair, it would be considered racial if the thugs singled out the victim due to his being white. There's nothing (at least at this point it hasn't been uncovered) that shows this was racially motivated. It does, however, provide a glaringly apparent example that respect for life in this society has totally gone the way of the Dodo.

To take a life or harm someone out of boredom (or for any reason other than defense) is totally unconscionable.

triscuit 08/21/13 - 01:54 pm
President Obama...

Who do you "identify" with on this one?

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