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Local News

March 13, 2014

Teens ordered to trial in Australian ECU baseball player death

Duncan — An Oklahoma judge ruled Wednesday that two teenagers charged with first-degree murder must face a trial in the shooting death of an Australian baseball player.

Prosecutors say a third suspect will testify against them.

Police and prosecutors say the boys targeted Christopher Lane, 22, last August as a way to overcome a boring summer afternoon. Chancey Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 18, were ordered to stand trial, while prosecutors said James Francis Edwards Jr., 16, will testify against them and be charged with a lesser crime.

The preliminary hearing for Luna and Jones had been delayed last month after a witness asked to be represented by an attorney.

Edwards testified at the earlier hearing that was rolling marijuana cigarettes in the front passenger seat when Luna fired the fatal shot from the back while Jones drove. Edwards testified that Luna and Jones both said they had believed the gun used in the killing held blanks, not a live round.

Edwards said the teens later drove to a restaurant, where Luna and Jones argued. According to Edwards, Luna told Jones that he thought the gun only held blanks, not live rounds. According to Edwards, Jones said he, too, thought the gun held blanks. 

Prosecutors last month charged Edwards as an accessory after the fact. According to court documents, Edwards made a phone call from the Stephens County Jail between Aug. 16 and Dec. 31, 2013, and asked someone to dispose of the weapon. Edwards testified Tuesday that he later learned the gun was disposed of but he does not know where the weapon is. He is due back in court in May for a preliminary hearing for that charge.

Prosecutors have said they will drop the first-degree murder charge in exchange for him continuing to testify against the other two teenagers through trial.

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