Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Okla. teen in shooting of Australian says he thought gun held blanks

DUNCAN, Okla. — One of three boys accused in the fatal shooting of an Australian baseball player last summer said in court Tuesday that his friends believed the gun used in the crime contained only blanks.

James Francis Edwards Jr. agreed to testify against his co-defendants during a preliminary hearing. In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors said they would drop a murder charge and he would only face an accessory charge.

He told an Oklahoma judge Tuesday that Chancey Luna, 16, shot and killed Christopher Lane of Melbourne from a car driven by Michael Dewayne Jones, 18.

The judge won't decide until March whether Luna and Jones will stand trial because a witness asked to be represented by an attorney. Edwards' preliminary hearing was also delayed.

Edwards, 16, said he was rolling marijuana cigarettes in the front passenger seat when Luna shot at Lane from the back seat.

The teens later drove to a restaurant, where Luna and Jones exchanged words. According to Edwards, Luna said to Jones that he thought the gun only had blanks inside them. Jones then responded: "Me too. I'm sorry," Edwards said.

Duncan police Detective Donny Foraker testified that gun residue was found on Jones' left hand and Luna's right hand. None was found on Edwards.

Prosecutors added an accessory charge against Edwards on Tuesday. According to court documents, Edwards made a phone call from the Stephens County Jail between Aug. 16 and Dec. 31 and requested someone to dispose of the weapon. Edwards testified Tuesday that he later learned the gun was disposed of but he does not know where the weapon is.

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