Vacated Sentence In Ada Baseball Murder Case Could Impact Other Cases
Chancey Luna was convicted of murder when he was 16 years old and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Today, the sentence was tossed out by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Legal analyst and defense attorney Irven Box said a decision like this could impact cases across the state.
In August 2013, 22-year-old Christopher Lane was shot in the back while he was jogging outside in Duncan. Three teens were convicted, including Chancey Luna who pulled the trigger from the back seat of a vehicle.
“This was a young baseball player in Oklahoma that was from Australia that got in a senseless homicide there in Stephens County,” said Box. He said the case garnered national and international attention.
“When they got to trial, there was not a lot the defense attorney could do other than try to save him from getting life without parole,” Box said. But that’s exactly the sentence handed to Luna. He would spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of getting out.
Friday, the sentence was overturned after Luna’s attorney filed an appeal under the 8th amendment of cruel and unusual punishment.
Box described what this meant. “Can he be rehabilitated because of his age? These are factors they said the jury just didn’t hear the factors in determining the punishment.”
The guilty verdict will remain the same, but the case will go back to sentencing. If Luna’s sentence is reduced, there is a possibility that he can get out on parole one day.
“I think it’s a really big deal,” said Box. He said it will change the game for a lot of cases in Oklahoma. “If the court rules that you can’t get life without parole for someone of this age between 16 to 18 for a homicide, it is going to change the whole aspect of how you defend and how you prosecute.” Box said it is something new defense attorneys and prosecutors have to consider when presenting evidence to show whether or not someone can be rehabilitated after committing a murder.