Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US teens ordered to trial in Aussie player death

13 March 2014, 15:42

Oklahoma - A judge ruled on Wednesday that two teenagers charged with first-degree murder must face a trial in the shooting death of an Australian baseball player.

Prosecutors say a third suspect will testify against them.

Police and prosecutors say the boys targeted Christopher Lane, aged 22, last August as a way to overcome a boring summer afternoon. Chancey Luna, aged 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, aged 18, were ordered to stand trial, while prosecutors said James Francis Edwards Jr, aged 16, will testify against them and be charged with a lesser crime.

The preliminary hearing for Luna and Jones had been delayed last month after a witness asked to be represented by an attorney.

Edwards testified at the earlier hearing that he was rolling marijuana cigarettes in the front passenger seat when Luna fired the fatal shot from the back while Jones drove. Edwards testified that Luna and Jones both said they had believed the gun used in the killing held blanks, not a live round.

Felt betrayed

Prosecutors last month charged Edwards as an accessory after the fact. According to court documents, Edwards made a phone call from the Stephens County Jail between 16 August and 31 December 2013, and asked someone to dispose of the weapon.

Edwards testified last month that he later learned the gun was disposed of but said he does not know where the weapon is. He is due back in court in May for a preliminary hearing for that charge.

Prosecutors have said they will drop the first-degree murder charge in exchange for him continuing to testify against the other two teenagers through trial.

In other testimony on Wednesday, another teenager took the stand but repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to keep silent when asked about his conversations with the suspects.

Also, a sheriff's office dispatcher who said she overheard Jones while he was in custody say that they tried to "kill others and kept missing".

Heather George corrected her testimony when a lawyer for Jones pointed out that a typed statement she made immediately after the alleged incident read "shoot others but we kept missing".

A gag order prevents lawyers and others from discussing the case outside of court, and two lawyers for Luna were charged with contempt of court shortly after Wednesday's hearing.

Prosecutors say Jim Berry and Howard Berry broke the gag order last month when they spoke with media outside the courtroom. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Family members for all three teenagers left without comment after the ruling. Prior to the court hearing, Jennifer Luna, Chancey's mother, said she felt betrayed by Edwards, who she said once lived with her and who she treated like a son.

"I was mad. I was heated," she said when she learned Edwards was testifying against her son. Luna said she believes both her son and Jones are innocent.


- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...