Society

Two Teens Charged In Australian Athlete Chris Lane's Murder to Be Tried as Adults

| by Allison Geller

Two of the three Oklahoma teenagers charged in the murder of Australian baseball player Chris Lane will be tried as adults, a judge decided. The third, who was in the car at the time the shooting occurred, will testify against his friends and may have his charges reduced.

Chancey Luna, 16, and Michael Jones, 18, face first-degree murder charges as adults, which may lead to a sentence of life in prison without parole, Stephens County Court Judge Jerry Herberger decided. James Edwards, who was a passenger in the vehicle, will testify for the prosecution.

The death penalty is not a possibility as federal law prohibits capital punishment for criminals who were under 18 at the time of their crimes.

The 22-year-old baseball player from Melbourne died of a "penetrating gunshot wound to the back” late last August as he jogged near his girlfriend’s house in Duncan, 80 miles south of Oklahoma City. When the three teens were apprehended for the drive-by shooting the oldest, Jones, told police that he and his friends killed Lane because they were “bored,” Duncan Police Chief Dan Ford told media.

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The damning testimony provided by a Stephens county jail employee at the latest hearing may have provided Judge Herberger with the evidence to convince him to try Luna and Jones as adults.

Heather George reported overhearing a conversation with Jones and another inmate. The inmate asked, “Why did you have to shoot an Australian? Why didn’t you drive and shoot somebody else?” Jones replied, according to George, that they had tried to shoot several others but “we kept missing.”

In preliminary hearings, though, Edwards testified that Luna and Jones said they thought the gun was loaded with blanks. He also said the gun might have gone off accidentally when the car swerved.

Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, Guardian