Share This Page

Friends thought gun held blanks, teen tells court

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 8:39 p.m.

DUNCAN, Okla. — One of three boys accused in the fatal shooting of an Australian baseball player last summer said in court on 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 in a preliminary hearing. In exchange for his testimony through the trial, prosecutors said they will drop a murder charge and he would only be tried on an accessory charge.

He told an Oklahoma judge that Chancey Luna, 16, shot and killed Christopher Lane, an Australian attending East Central University on a baseball scholarship who was two weeks away from celebrating his 23rd birthday. When the shooting took place, Edwards said, Luna was in 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 delayed until May.

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

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

Jones and Luna then dropped off Edwards at court for Edwards to sign probation papers related to a juvenile charge, said Edwards, who testified wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.

Some time passed, then Luna and Jones picked up Edwards at an apartment complex where Edward's father works. The two boys took Edwards to a church parking lot where he was planning to fight another person in an unrelated matter, but all three boys were arrested, Edwards said.

Prosecutors added an accessory charge against Edwards. 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 that he later learned the gun was disposed of but he does not know where it is.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.