By Art Lawler
Pontotoc County District Attorney Chris Ross struggled Wednesday to find an explanation for the second “thrill killing” of an East Central University student in less than a year.
“I have long ago given up trying to understand or explain human behavior,” Ross said.
“I’ve prosecuted 50 some-odd homicide cases, and with none of them did I think, ‘Oh, well, that makes sense.’”
Christopher Lane, a 22-year-old Australian national, died after being shot in the back Aug. 16 in a drive-by shooting in Duncan. Lane was a student at ECU and a member of the Tigers baseball team. He was in Duncan visiting his girlfriend the day he was murdered. He was jogging when the shooting occurred.
Three Duncan teenagers were arrested in connection with the homicide: James Edwards Jr., 15; Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17. Edwards and Luna were charged in court Tuesday with first-degree murder and face possible life sentences without parole. Jones, who police said drove the ambush car — with Luna in the back seat and Edwards in the front passenger seat — was only charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and use of a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon. Prosecutors said he was the only one to cooperate with investigators but could still face many years in prison.
In December, 18-year-old Gennaro Sanchez was kidnapped and killed by a fellow ECU freshman. In that case, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Jerrod Murray, 18, of Asher. In an affidavit, an undersherrif wrote that Murray confessed to killing Sanchez because he wanted to see how it would feel.
Though the Lane murder falls outside Ross’ jurisdiction, the D.A. said he feels the same frustration and sense of helplessness most people are feeling.
“We strive to understand things for which there is no reasonable explanation,” he said.
“They openly admitted they did it because they were bored,” Ross said. “They didn’t try to rob him. I would say ‘no reason’ is the reason they did it.
“The reason things are made unlawful is because something was not done for a good reason, but (when) you try to understand someone who is patently unreasonable, you’re not going to find a satisfying explanation.”
Like most people who enforce the law, or penalize those who break it, Ross said he has seen things he would prefer not to have seen.
“I would say I’m steeled to it to the extent that I can function and do my job, despite what’s on the ground in front of me.
“You suppress those emotions and go to work. You continue to suppress them until the closing arguments. Then you turn them loose.”
As to Lane’s death, Ross’ feelings line up with the rest of civilized society.
“I think it is certainly shocking that anybody would do that, and have those types of thoughts, even more so that someone that age would do it.”
Such acts are shocking but increasingly common. Like most Americans, Ross said he hopes such crims are not approaching a new normal.
The Oklahoman contributed to this report.
By Art Lawler
- Local News
Winter storm warning issued for parts of state
Forecasters issued a winter storm warning for a large swath of Oklahoma as cold air and abundant moisture are poised to cover the state.
The National Weather Service says rain on Thursday will switch over to freezing rain in parts of the state, and freezing rain and sleet will continue into Thursday night. Much of the preciptiation is expected to switch over to all snow before ending on Friday.
A half-inch of freezing rain could be possible in some areas, along with significant sleet. Some areas will see power outages and travel will be treacherous.
Kaiser: Parade will go on unless streets are icy
Ada will get another blast of wintry weather Thursday, but the Pat Taylor Memorial Parade of Lights will not be canceled unless the streets are icy, said Ada Main Street program manager Amy Kaiser.
Fresh ECU graduate plunges headfirst into teaching
Teaching has been an eye-opening, yet gratifying experience for Chris Eckler in his young career.
Chickasaw Nation receives Keep Oklahoma Beautiful award
The Chickasaw Nation received top honors at the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) awards ceremony Nov. 19 in Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
ECU global education director receives two honorary doctorates from Ukranian universities
Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, East Central University’s Global Education Director, has received an award that is near and dear to her heart.
Council OKs study of water costs
Housekeeping items dominated the Ada City Council’s agenda on Monday.
Local merchants report strong Black Friday weekend sales
When Brown’s Shoe Fit opened for business on Black Friday, people were lined up outside the door.
The store is normally open from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., but it opened a couple of hours early on Friday to cater to holiday shoppers. The result was a line of people and higher-than expected sales.
“People were waiting for us to open up,” owner Gunar Matheny said Monday. “It was a really good feeling to have.”
Matheny said he knew business would be brisk on Friday, which kicked off the holiday shopping season. Saturday is normally a quiet day for his store, but it turned out to be another good day.
Don't forget — pets need attention, too, in wintry weather
Shannon Nickell was busy getting the PAWS Animal Shelter in Ada ready for winter weather Tuesday morning.
Call it Operation Pooch Control. It’s bad enough that humans are having to take precautions, but watching out for animals adds to the pressure.
The National Weather Bureau in Norman is calling for below-freezing temperatures for much of the rest of the week and into next week.
- Police Reports
Brrr! Cold snap puts Ada in its sights
Cold air and frozen precipitation are in the forecast for Oklahoma.
- More Local News Headlines
- Winter storm warning issued for parts of state