The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
August 24, 2013
January 26, 2022

The motive is so shocking in the murder of Australian national and East Central University baseball player Christopher Lane, that the story has made international headlines and made all other Oklahoma crime news a footnote.As the 22-year-old athlete was out for a jog in an affluent neighborhood in Duncan, three teenaged boys watched him pass by and decided to kill him. According to reports, a 16-year-old boy told police that he was the shooter, and said that he just wanted to kill someone. Police say the 17-year-old suspect told them, "We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."Although the suspects posted Facebook photos throwing gang signs, Duncan police say the murder was completely random, and not related to gang activity. Police Chief Danny Ford said, "Somebody would have died that day, somebody mowing their yard--these boys had made up their mind."Despite an earlier tweet by one of the suspects which read, ""90% of white ppl (people) are nasty. #HATE THEM," police say the crime was not racially motivated.After receiving a description of the vehicle from which Lane was shot, police began a manhunt for the suspects, whom they believed to be local. A few hours later, emergency dispatchers received a call that teenagers with guns were coming to kill the son of the caller. When police responded, they found three juveniles sitting in a black Honda that matched the description of the vehicle that fled the murder scene.Police arrested James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15; Chancey Allen Luna, 16; and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17. The three allegedly confessed to involvement, and Luna reportedly admitted to pulling the trigger. Jones is accused of driving the car to and from the shooting, and Edwards was allegedly a passenger.However, their alleged callousness stunned local police. Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks said that Edwards "danced" at the booking desk when he was booked into jail. "His demeanor was this whole thing was one big joke. He thinks it's funny," Hicks said. In fact, between the shooting and his arrest, Edwards kept an appointment with the Office of Juvenile Affairs regarding his probation in an unrelated matter.People who knew they boys say they were gang members involved with drugs, and Edwards's Facebook profile showed pictures of the teen with guns and stacks of cash.Luna and Edwards are charged with first degree murder, and Stephens County Special Judge Jerry Herberger has ordered them to be held without bail. If convicted, they face the possibility of life in prison without parole. Jones is charged with being an accessory after the fact and using a vehicle to discharge a weapon. He is currently held on $1 million bond. If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of life in prison.The incident has strained international relations, with Australian Prime Minister Tim Fischer telling CNN, "People thinking of going to the U.S.A. for business or tourist trips should think carefully about it, given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S.A. than in Australia, per capita."A random act of violence in a small town in southwest Oklahoma has sparked outrage across the world. The state with which the global community sympathized in the wake of the random violence of the Murrah bombing is now the subject of scorn. An unfair judgment, for certain, but the ripple effect of the "boredom" of three teens in Duncan, Oklahoma, can be felt around the world.


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