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Local News

March 11, 2014

Lane suspects back in court Wednesday

DUNCAN — The preliminary hearing in the death of Australian native Christopher Lane will continue on Wednesday for three Duncan teenagers charged in the fatal shooting.

The hearing, which began on Feb. 4 but was recessed until Wednesday, will determine if there is sufficient evidence for the cases against the suspects to be taken to trial.

Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 18 face first-degree murder charges in the Aug. 16, 2013, death of Lane, who shot while jogging in the afternoon at Country Club Road near Twilight Beach.

A third suspect, James Francis Edwards Jr., 16, is also charged with first-degree murder, but a plea bargain could reduce the charge to a lesser offense if he testifies on behalf of the state.

The plea bargain arrangement was revealed during testimony on Feb. 4, when Edwards described hearing a gunshot fired from the back seat of a car in which he was riding in the front passenger seat.

 Jones was driving the vehicle and Luna was seated in the back, he testified.

After the shooting, Edwards told the court Jones drove the car to a restaurant parking lot where he heard Luna and Jones say they didn’t think the gun was loaded.

The gun and ammunition was stashed under the hood of the parked car, Edward testified.

Edwards will be charged with accessory after the fact of murder as a youthful offender if he continues to cooperate with District Attorney Jason Hicks, according to court testimony.

The teens are set to appear in court at 2 p.m. Wednesday before Judge Jerry Herberger.

Lane, who was attending East Central University in Ada on a baseball scholarship, suffered a single gunshot to the back from a .22 caliber pistol and died before paramedics arrived.

Jim Berry, attorney for Luna, spoke to reporters after the Feb. 4 hearing and called the shooting a tragedy but said it was not a premeditated act.

“Keep an open mind. Let us go through the judicial system,” he said.

Lane, 22 at the time of the shooting, was in Duncan visiting his girlfriend, Sarah Harper.

Harper and Peter Lane, the slain Australian athlete’s father, attended a college baseball game last week in Ada between the two teams Chris Lane played for during his time in the United States.

Redlands Community College and East Central University will each retire the number Chris Lane wore while playing for the teams.

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