2 teens accused in ‘thrill kill’ of Australian student-athlete plead not guilty

Christopher Lane

Christopher Lane

OKLAHOMA — Two teenagers accused in a random “thrill kill” that left a 23-year-old college athlete from Australia dead pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder charges, an Oklahoma district attorney said.

Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 18, entered the pleas at their arraignment Thursday inside of a Stephens County courthouse, said Jason Hicks, the district attorney serving that area.

Hicks couldn’t offer more details of what transpired inside the courtroom or the case because of a gag order.

Among those in attendance was Sarah Harper, the girlfriend of the victim, Christopher Lane.

Police say the teenagers shot Lane — who was attending East Central University on a baseball scholarship — last August as he was jogging in Duncan, a town of about 23,000 people located some 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

Luna, Jones and a third teenager — James Francis Edwards, Jr. — saw Lane passing by and shot him because “they had nothing to do,” according to authorities.

As the teenagers sped away, Duncan police Chief Danny Ford told CNN affiliate KSWO that “there were some people that saw (Lane) stagger across the road, go to a kneeling position and collapse on the side of the road.”

When police arrested the teens, one of them offered a motive that made clear that Lane was chosen at random.

“He said the motive was, ‘We were going to kill somebody,’” Ford told Australian radio station 3AW.

After their arrest, all three alleged assailants were charged as adults, according to Kaylee Chandler, the Stephens County Court Clerk.

The shooting shook many around the college town like Sam Malchar, who called his classmate and teammate Lane “a charming guy, genuinely good person, with great character and … a love for life.”

It also reverberated some 10,000 miles away in Lane’s native Australia, from which some called for a U.S. tourism boycott. Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer characterized the slaying as “another example of murder mayhem on Main Street.”

A judge on Thursday set Luna and Jones’ trial date for August 18, which is when a jury term starts.

The other implicated teen, Edwards, is scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing on May 13.

Edwards’ older sister, Rachel Padilla, told CNN last summer that her brother had been in trouble with police before for fighting, but was not a vicious person, and she never thought he might kill someone.

8 comments

  • Thomas

    Why is this murder not being prosecuted as a “hate crime” since the black youths were noted as saying that they wanted to “go out and kill white people”?

  • smokeydog

    Throw them under the jail with the rats. Nothing is bad enough for these three! Typical wanna be thugs that need to be put away for life or worse if possible.

  • henry

    fux 8 at it again. if tou mention al or jessy, they will not post your comment. i guess they are drfending the bruthas

  • henry

    kill them thugs. make big al and jessy boy throw the switch. crime will go down. im tired of living in little somolia

  • albedamn

    Kids Board nothing to do so go on a hate crime to stallk and kill a white guy out jogging on his daily run for health and life…yes guilty to me prison for life be board there…for a death for a life. 2(((((((RIP CRISTOPHER LANE)))))… YOUR HOME WITH THE LORD.

  • FaithC

    They said that they wanted to kill a white person? I don’t remember reading that when this happened, but if that is the case whey is this not a hate crime?
    These kids need to be put to death. They will never be a productive member of society and why should we pay to keep them with a roof over their sorry heads, fed and warm.

  • badelizabeth2013

    this should be a hate crime. no difference if you are targeting white people, black people – it’s still a hate crime. throw these two away – they will be no good to society anyway

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