Suspects Arraigned On Murder Charges In Australian Athlete's Death


Tuesday, August 20th 2013, 6:53 pm
By: News 9


A college baseball player was randomly gunned down. Three teenagers are charged with the crime.

Duncan Police say 16-year-old Chancey Luna, 15-year-old James Edwards Jr. and 17-year-old Michael Jones were on a killing spree when they shot 22-year-old Australia native Christopher Lane. He was in town visiting a friend when he was killed.

8/20/2013 Related Story: 3 Suspects Charged In Murder Of Australian Man In Duncan

Not a seat was left empty in the courtroom on Tuesday. Among the crowd were tearful parents waiting to hear the charges against their sons, accused of killing an innocent man for a thrill.

The emotions outside of the courtroom matched the sentiment inside.

"Just like the families in Australia, they are hurting. I'm hurting in the same way. I don't cry on the outside. I'm crying right here from the heart right now," said James Edwards, the father of 15-year-old James Edwards Jr. who is charged with first degree murder.

James Edwards told News 9 that he is confident that his son is innocent, because "he didn't pull the trigger, for number one. He was just there."

Prosecutors called the teenager "cold and callous," and said Edwards danced around during his arrest. Still the father defended his son's actions.

"A lot of times when my son gets disciplined instead of showing up angry, he might smile or do a little dance to keep from pulling out his anger," Edwards said.

Prosecutors say it's no laughing matter and also charged his accomplice 16-year-old Chancey Luna with the murder of 22-year-old Christopher Lane.

8/18/2013 Related Story: 3 Juveniles Arrested In Murder Of ECU Baseball Player, Australian National

Luna is accused of pulling the trigger, killing the Australian native as he jogged down a road in Duncan. His mother, Jennifer Luna, broke down hearing what her son is accused of. She previously told us her son is innocent.

"I know in my heart he didn't pull that trigger," Luna said.

The third suspect, Michael Jones, nodded his head in agreement when prosecutors accused him of driving the car during the shooting, and later hiding some of the evidence. He is now charged as youthful offender for accessory to the murder. The DA feels the charges are appropriate.

The two suspects charged with murder could face up to life in prison, and are being held without bond in Stephens County.

A judge set Jones' bond at $1 million.