Third teen faces murder charge in Australian baseball player’s death

Posted at 7:43 PM, Nov 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-06 21:43:16-05
From John Branch


(CNN) — A third Oklahoma teen is now facing a felony murder charge months after the shooting death of a college baseball player from Australia.

Prosecutors have dropped a youth offender charge against Michael Jones, 17, and are charging him as an adult with felony first-degree murder, Melody Harper with the Stephens County Court Clerk’s office said.

Two other teens — James Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Luna, 16 — also face felony first-degree murder charges in the case. They are scheduled to appear in court on November 20, Harper said.

Authorities accuse the teens of gunning down Christopher Lane, a 23-year-old Australian student who attended East Central University on a baseball scholarship.

Lane was jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma, in August when he was shot in the back.

Prosecutors allege that Luna pulled the trigger and Jones drove the getaway car, CNN affiliate KOCO reported.

Police have said that Jones later told them, “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.”

Asked outside the courtroom Wednesday whether they had any response to the new charge against their son, Jones’ parents declined to comment to KOCO.

The senselessness of the killing caused outrage in Australia and the United States, with former Australian deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer calling for a boycott on travel to the United States in response and President Barack Obama expressing his condolences to Lane’s family.

The case also prompted speculation the killing may have been racially motivated, as one of the alleged shooters, who is black, had allegedly made online comments about disliking white people. District Attorney Jason Hicks said while the post appeared racial in character, there was insufficient evidence to pursue hate crime charges in the case.

On Wednesday, a judge issued a gag order, preventing both sides in the case from talking about it publicly, according to KOCO.

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