Oskaloosa.com

August 22, 2013

Concerned father led police to teens charged in Okla. murder


CNHI News Service

DUNCAN, Okla. — A father concerned for his son's safety led police in Duncan, Okla., to the three teenagers now charged with gunning down a college student because they were bored.

James Johnson's 911 call last Friday night pointed authorities to the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church, where they found James Edwards Jr., 15, Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 17.

Johnson told detectives there had been a falling out between his son and the teenagers, said Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford. Johnson called at 7 p.m., four hours after the drive-by slaying of Christopher Lane, 22, a college baseball player from Melbourne, Australia.

Lane was on scholarship at East Central University in Ada, Okla., but visiting his girlfriend, Sarah Harper, who lives in Duncan.

Lane's death shocked this typically quiet community, and the fallout has created an international furor over gun control laws in the United States.

The story is also taking on racial dimensions since Edwards' sister complained the two defendants of color are charged with first-degree murder while Jones, who is white, faces lesser charges.

Prosecutors say Luna, riding in the back seat, fired the single shot from a .22-caliber pistol that killed Lane. Edwards rode in the front passenger's seat.

Jones, who police said drove the ambush car, is charged as an accessory. District Attorney Jason Hicks has said the charges are based on the evidence in the case -- not race.

Authorities say the teenagers were driving on the north side of town Friday afternoon when they spotted Lane jogging on the side of the road and randomly chose to shoot him. Hicks said the teenagers were bored and wanted to "kill somebody for the fun of it."

An eerie social media message three days earlier foreshadowed the murder. Under the handle @JamesAKABug, a Twitter user who appears to be Edwards posted on Aug. 13: "With my n----s when it's time to start taken life's."

The line is a lyric from rap artist Chief Keef's song, "I Don't Like."

Police have said the teenagers were not part of a gang but saw themselves as “gangsters” such as those portrayed on TV and in the movies.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, whose district includes Duncan, said the shooting is not representative of Duncan or Oklahoma. He addressed comments by a former deputy prime minister in Lane's home country of Australia, warning citizens against traveling to the United States because of lax gun control laws.

Cole said he regretted the comment. "But that is a free country and a vigorous democracy," he said. "But I think if Australians would take the time to look at this nation, and Oklahoma in particular, they will find we have shared values and shared commitment to a free society."

Details for this story were reported by the Duncan Banner.