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August 20, 2013

2 teens charged with random murder of college baseball player

DUNCAN, Okla. — Two Oklahoma teenagers were charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in the shooting death of college baseball player who police said became a random target because the youths were bored and decided to kill somebody.

They were identified as James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, both of Duncan. Prosecutors said Luna fired the fatal shot that killed Christopher Lane, 22, a catcher for East Central University in Ada, Okla., while he was out jogging.

A 17-year-old companion, Michael Dewayne Jones, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with use of a motor vehicle in the discharge of a weapon.

Not guilty pleas were entered for all three, who although juveniles were arraigned one-by-one in adult court. The two murder defendants were ordered held without bail, and could face life in prison if convicted. Bond was set at $1 million for Jones. He faces a possible 45 years in prison.

District Attorney Jason Hicks described the teens as "thugs" who had committed a senseless crime unprecedented in this southern Oklahoma community known as the hometown of Hollywood producer and actor Ron Howard.

Prosecutors said Lane, a native of Australia, was gunned down by a single .22-caliber bullet to the back. He was in town to visit with his girlfriend and her family.

Police Chief Danny Ford said Lane became a random target when he passed the teens’ parked car.

"They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said, 'There's our target,'" said Ford, adding that Jones told authorities after the teens were arrested that "we were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."

The teens were arrested Friday night in a church parking lot, standing next to a black Civic Honda seen leaving the scene of the shooting and recorded on security cameras atop local businesses.

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