U.S News: Australian Baseball Player Shot by teens in Drive-by

Once again we are confronted on the news with yet another shooting in the United States. This time An australian is the victim of soft gun laws in the United States. I am told over and over its not guns that kill its people that kill, and as Americans they have the right to carry guns etc. Frankly I am tired of the whole thing gun owners can argue their side till the are blue in the face for my liking, the fact still remains under strict gun laws, gun related deaths drop dramaticlly.

Yes I admit the criminals still get their hands on guns, and yes they can and will kill with them. The difference is bored kids couldn’t get their hands on guns unless they obtained them illegally. If your not mixed up in crime then why do you need to carry a gun? In the following story not just an Australian life lost but three American kids as well. All four senseless, if there were stronger restrictions and gun laws, Three boys may have gone to the park or the movies instead of randomly shooting someone in cold blood.

Silvia Cartwright said, “The quest for peace begins in the home, in the school and in the workplace.”

As Adults what are we teaching the children of today? Violence solves nothing yet here we are teaching kids its ok to have a gun, Its ok to use a gun to defend yourself. So when billy up the road says im gunna kill Joe, and Joe pulls out a gun and shoots Billy, there we are outraged at the cold blooded murder. What we should be teaching them is how to live in a society where disputes are solved peacfully without guns. How many more kids lives need to be lost to Jail or death before this is done?

Three teenagers were charged on Tuesday in relation to the drive-by shooting death of a college baseball player. Christopher Lane who was simply out for a jog in Oklahoma when he was gunned down in a crime that one teen said they carried out simply because they were bored.

The teens are James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, both were charged with murder. The third teenager, Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact and with firing a weapon. All three were charged as adults, according to the Stephens County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges were revealed at a hearing in Duncan, Oklahoma. Christopher Lane, was visiting the town, where his girlfriend lives. He passed a home where the teens were staying and was gunned down at random, the police chief said. The Oklahoma teens say they shot and killed an Australian baseball player because they were “bored”

District Attorney Jason Hicks said outside the first court hearing in the Oklahoma town of Duncan that he was “going to do everything I can to ensure these three thugs pay for what they did to Christopher Lane, To those friends of ours in Australia, we would say to you this is not Duncan, Oklahoma, This is not Stephens County, Oklahoma.” Mr Hicks said.

Stephens County Courthouse heard how James Edwards, 15, accused of murdering Lane, 22, danced and laughed as he was taken into a police station to be charged after the killing on Friday.Mr Hicks told the hearing, James Edwards was treating the murder as a joke. He told the court that Edwards has previously been in contact with police, and that he had “an attitude of total disregard for law enforcement” when he was being charged over Lane’s death.He thinks it’s funny, and it’s all a joke, I believe he is a threat to the community.” Mr Hicks said.

Mr Hicks said Edwards kept a probation appointment for another matter at the courthouse just minutes after Lane was killed.”He was cold, callous and that was the demeanour that we saw throughout the course of the investigation,”

Edwards and Chancey Luna, 16, were charged with first-degree murder If convicted the suspects could face life in prison. Mr Hicks said that Luna had refused to co-operate with police. Both Teens were refused bail.

The third teen, Michael Jones, 17, was charged with using a vehicle to facilitate the discharge of a weapon and accessory after the fact of murder in the first degree. Bail for Jones, who is assisting prosecutors and police, was set at $US1 million ($A1.1 million). All three will be tried as adults. The three were dressed in orange prison jumpsuits and had their legs shackled during the brief appearance.

Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said he had the confession of Jones who had summoned investigators to his jail cell and claimed they were bored “so they decided to kill somebody.They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’”

The court was told that the three boys spotted Lane jogging along a road in an upper-class area of Duncan on Friday.They then got into a car driven by Jones, drove behind Lane and then Luna shot him with .22 calibre revolver in the back.

The prosecutor said “The information we have is Luna was the person who pulled the trigger.” Edwards and Luna did not show any emotion, but after Mr Hicks said he was looking at a “very, very lengthy prison sentence”,Jones broke down in tears “I didn’t pull the trigger,” Jones said.

The courtroom was packed.In the front row sat about 20 family and friends of Sarah Harper, Lane’s longtime American girlfriend. Ms Harper, 23, was not in court herself. Her Mother Cindy Harper told the Herald Sun her daughter was at home “trying to relax”. As they were taken out a side door of the court building by sheriffs, another Harper family member said “this is surreal”

A few rows behind was a distraught Jennifer Luna, Trying to Come to grips with a nightmare year in which she saw the death of her husband in a motorcycle accident and now the prospect her son could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Asked outside of court if she had a message for the Lane family, Ms Luna said “I feel sorry for them, my heart goes out to them, it really does, but that’s my baby too. My boy was a baby too.”
She also said there were no guns at her house, and her son was at home playing X-Box with her soon-to-be stepson when she came home from work last Friday after finishing at 3pm.

On the right hand side of the courtroom was James Edwards Sr, father of James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, was refusing to believe his son was a killer. When asked if he believed his son, who hoped to be an Olympic wrestler, was innocent. Mr Edwards replied, “Yes, I do,”

In the back left area of the court was Jones’s parents and supporters, including his pregnant girlfriend, who sobbed in her seat, eventually leaving the court before Jones came in.

Edwards and Luna did not appear to be fazed during their court appearance. When Ms Luna stood up in court to answer an administrative question from Judge Jerry Herberger, her son didn’t even acknowledge her. Edwards didn’t look for family members.

Lane, 22, is from Australia but was was staying with Ms Harper in Duncan before going back to Oklahoma’s East Central University where he majored in finance and was the catcher on the team’s baseball team who started 14 games and hit .250 for the Tigers this season.

Ms Harper yesterday revealed her heartbreak at losing her “best friend”, and parents of the accused protested their innocence. She said that she didn’t know what punishment would be appropriate for the three teens. “I don’t want them to have any future that Chris wasn’t able to have as well,” “It’s been pretty rough. It’s been hard knowing he was taken so close to home, let alone taken in the way he was. To be pointed out like that …”

Lane, who grew up in Oak Park in Melbourne’s north, had only been back in the US for three days after an eight-week break in Australia with Ms Harper. Ms Harper said she and Lane had joked about America’s soft gun laws before he was shot.”He wasn’t a fan of guns,” she said.
She fondly described Lane as a smart, kind and curious guy who would “do anything for anybody”.

Ms Harper, also a talented sportswoman, said she and Lane just “meshed together” within weeks of meeting at college in Oklahoma in August 2009.”It was more of a personality (we had in common), not so much interests. He was intellectual, into world news, and I found that quite boring,” she said.”He really wanted to travel more. He loved the idea of seeing the world.”

Ms Harper said she would come back to Australia to farewell Lane with his family.”I’m probably going to go back and say goodbye with the people he loved the most, It was a great time getting back there and seeing him in his element with all his favourite friends. It’s going to be hard going back but it’s something I need to do. Thank you to everyone who supported and loved Chris. I really appreciated it.”
Shocked family and friends have been trying to make sense of the tragedy. Peter Lane paid tribute to his son and said the family was still waiting on news from the US authorities regarding the repatriation of his son’s body. “There is not going to be any good come out of this. It was so senseless. There was nothing he did or could have done, It’s happened. It’s wrong and we just try and deal with it the best we can.”

Flowers and a baseball have been placed on the home plate at Essendon Baseball Club with a message.”A wonderful young man taken too soon,” it read. “Why?”

College friend Marshall Veal added Lane had “brought light to each of us. Lanes would have done anything in the world for all of us and we would do the same, he was a best friend, teammate, and most of all a Brother. We love you Laney.”

Local Bill Renfrow, who lives just metres from the intersection where Lane was shot, said Duncan locals had erected a flower memorial for him at the site of the attack. “It’s sad to us, more than anything. It’s shocking. He was a visitor in our country,” he said. “This is a very quiet neighbourhood, there’s never any trouble here.”

Witnesses told Australian television that Lane staggered and collapsed on the road after he was shot in the back with a .22-caliber revolver on Friday afternoon.

The autopsy on Lane is pending, Meanwhile the three teens are being held in individual cells at the Stephens County jail, Sheriff Wayne McKinney said that there has been an escalation in major crimes committed by people under 18 in recent years in Stephens County.
Also in the jail is a teen accused of murdering his 16-year-old girlfriend and a man just over 18 accused of killing a store attendant.he said.

McKinney said “That it is alarming that we’re seeing those type of crimes, I don’t think it’s unique. It’s something we’re starting to see nationwide.”

State Department spokesman Maria Harf on Tuesday told reporters the United States is “deeply saddened” to hear about the death of Australian Lane in Oklahoma.”This is clearly a tragic death and we extend our condolences to the family and the loved ones, We understand that local authorities are focused on bringing those responsible to justice. Clearly, we would support that.”

Essendon Baseball Club’s match against the University of Melbourne on Sunday will be turned into a tribute to Lane to raise money for the family.

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