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May 14, 2014

Preliminary hearing conference continued for Edwards

DUNCAN — Stephens County District Court continued the preliminary hearing for a Duncan teen charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of an Australian native.

James Francis Edwards Jr., 16, was one of three teenagers charged in the shooting death of 22-year-old Christopher Lane. Lane was jogging Aug. 16, 2013, near the intersection of Country Club Road and Twilight Beach, when he was shot.

Edwards, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, appeared in court Tuesday with his attorney Albert J. Hoch Jr. of Oklahoma City. Special District Judge Jerry Herberger presided over the court appearance with Assistant District Attorney Cortnie Siess representing the State of Oklahoma.

Although charged with first-degree murder, Edwards’ charges may be reduced to youthful offender accessory after the fact of first-degree murder. This agreement may come to fruition if Edwards testifies against Chancey Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 18, both of whom face first-degree murder charges for Lane’s death.

The continuance was requested by Hoch, and the State of Oklahoma agreed to the motion. A gag order is in place for the cases against Edwards, Luna and Jones. The gag order prevents attorneys and other individuals associated with the case to discuss the case outside the courtroom.

Because of the continuance, the preliminary hearing was moved to 9 a.m. June 17 in Herberger’s courtroom.

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