DUNCAN, Okla. - With a motive that's both chilling and simple — to break up the boredom of an Oklahoma summer — three teenagers randomly targeted an Australian collegiate baseball player who was attending school in the U.S. and killed him for fun, prosecutors said as they charged two of the boys with murder.
Prosecutor Jason Hicks on Tuesday called the boys "thugs" as he described how Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, was shot once in the back and died along a tree-lined road on Duncan's well-to-do north side. He said the three teens, from the grittier part of town, chose Lane at random and that one of the boys "thinks it's all a joke."
Hicks charged Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, with first-degree murder. Under Oklahoma law they will be tried as adults. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, was charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.
Jones wept in the courtroom after he tried to speak about the incident but was cut off by the judge who said it wasn't the time to sort out the facts of the case. Jones faces anywhere from two years to life in prison if convicted on the counts he faces.
The two younger teens face life in prison without parole if convicted on the murder charge.
"I'm appalled," Hicks said after the hearing. "This is not supposed to happen in this community."
In court, Hicks said Luna was sitting in the back seat of a car when he pulled the trigger on a .22 calibre revolver and shot Lane once in the back. Hicks said Jones was driving the vehicle and Edwards was in the passenger seat.
A recording of an emergency call obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press offers a chilling account of the next moments as a woman identifying herself as Joyce Smith tells the operator she saw Lane fall over into a ditch as she drove by.
"He's got blood on his back," the woman says.
Later relaying word from another witness on the scene to the emergency operator, the woman says: "He's turning blue. He's making a noise."
Edwards has had prior run-ins with the law and came to court Friday — apparently after the shooting — to sign documents related to his juvenile probation.
"I believe this man is a threat to the community and should not be let out," Hicks said as he requested Edwards be held without bail. "He thinks it's all a joke."
The two younger boys were held without bail, while bail for Jones was set at $1 million.
Before the hearing, Edwards' father, James Edwards Sr., said he knew where his son was 95 per cent of the time. He said his son was involved in wrestling and football, and was trying to forge the same sort of athletic career as Lane. He was heading into his sophomore year in high school.
Edwards Sr. said Luna was also like a son to him.
Luna's mother, Jennifer Luna, said her son likes to play basketball at a local court and play on his iPhone and Xbox.
"I know my son. He is a good kid," she said.
Lane played baseball at East Central University in Ada, 85 miles (135 kilometres) east of Duncan, and had been visiting his girlfriend and her parents in Duncan after he and his girlfriend returned to the U.S. from Australia about a week ago.
Duncan police Chief Dan Ford has said the boys wanted to overcome a boring end to their summer vacation — classes in Duncan resumed Tuesday — and that Jones told officers they were bored and killed Lane for "the fun of it."
Family and friends on two continents were mourning Lane, who gave up pursuit of an Australian football career to pursue his passion for baseball, an American pastime. His girlfriend, Sarah Harper, tearfully laid a cross at a streetside memorial in Duncan, while half a world away, an impromptu memorial grew at the home plate he protected as a catcher on his youth team.
"We just thought we'd leave it," Harper said as she visited the memorial in Duncan. "This is his final spot."
His old baseball team, Essendon, scheduled a memorial game for Sunday to raise funds for Lane's parents as they worked to have their boy's remains sent home.
Tony Cornish, president of the Essendon Baseball Club, said Lane played with the club for 12 years. Cornish said Lane was part of the club until he left to attend college in the U.S.
"Chris Lane was a good kid, just a great all-around guy," Cornish said. "We're still all in shock here."
Meanwhile, St. Bernard's College in Essendon, where Lane was a student, is planning a memorial Mass for Lane in November.
Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported that roses and a baseball were placed Monday on the home plate where Lane played as a youth with the message: "A wonderful young man taken too soon. Why?"
Tim Fischer, former Australia deputy prime minister, criticized the National Rifle Association and asked Australians to avoid the U.S. as a way to put pressure on its Congress to act on gun control.
"Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice," Fischer told the Herald Sun. "I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers, (but) it's a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA. There is a gun for almost every American."
AP sports writer Dennis Passa in Brisbane, Australia, and reporter Sue Ogrocki in Duncan, Oklahoma, contributed to this report.
Follow Kristi Eaton on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kristieaton .
Also on HuffPost:
Swat team members secure the scene near Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting there on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)
Sandy Hook Elementary
Molly Delaney, left, holds her 11-year-old daughter, Milly Delaney, during a service in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as people gathered at St. John's Episcopal Church , Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.
Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)
Clackamas Town Center
A security guard looks over the food court at the Clackamas Town Center mall as it opens, on Friday, Dec 14, 2012 in Portland, Ore. The mall is reopening, three days after a gunman killed two people and wounded a third amid a holiday shopping crowd estimated at 10,000. The shooter, Jacob Tyler Roberts, killed himself after the attack Tuesday afternoon.
St. Vincent's Hospital Shooting
Birmingham police arrive at the scene of a shooting at St. Vincent's Hospital on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala. Authorities in Alabama say a man opened fire the hospital, wounding an officer and two employees before he was fatally shot by police. Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams says the officer and employees suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatening.
Sikh Temple Shooting
Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., Friday, Aug 10, 2012. The public service was held in the Oak Creek High School. Three other people were wounded in the shooting last Sunday at the temple. Wade Michael Page, 40, killed five men and one woman, and injured two other men. Authorities say Page then ambushed the first police officer who responded, shooting him nine times and leaving him in critical condition. A second officer then shot Page in the stomach, and Page took his own life with a shot to the head. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
July 2012: Aurora, Colorado
A policeman stands outside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where a heavily armed man opened fire, killing at least 12 people and injuring 50 others.
May 2012: Seattle, Wash.
Friends, family and employees react after a shooting at Cafe Racer in Seattle on May 30, 2012. A lone gunman killed four people Wednesday -- three were shot to death at a cafe, and a fourth in a carjacking. The gunman later killed himself.
April 2012: Oakland, California
Alameda County Community Food Bank workers move a memorial from a parking spot next to Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 23, 2012. Some students and staff members have arrived to resume class at Oikus University, the small California Christian college where seven people were shot to death earlier in April.
November 2009: Fort Hood, Texas
Panou Xiong, center, is comforted by family and friends following a Remembrance Ceremony commemorating the one-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military base, where 13 people were killed and dozens wounded,, Nov. 5, 2010 in Fort Hood, Texas. Xiong's son, Pfc. Kham Xiong, was killed in the shooting. <em><strong>CORRECTION:</strong> This slide originally said that the Fort Hood shooting took place in November 2010. The shooting took place in November 2009.</em>
March 2009: Kinston, Alabama
The charred Kinston, Ala. living room where suspected gunman Michael McLendon allegedly killed his mother Lisa McLendon, is photographed Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Authorities were working Wednesday to learn why a gunman set off on a rampage, killing 10 people across two rural Alabama counties.
August 2007: Blacksburg, Va.
An unidentified family member of slain Virginia Tech student Daniel Alejandro Prez Cueva, pauses at his memorial stone after the dedication of the memorial for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Va., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. More than 10,000 people gathered on the main campus lawn as Virginia Tech dedicated 32 memorial stones for those killed by a student in a mass shooting on campus last April.
April 1999: Littleton, Colo.
This aerial shows the news media compound near Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., April 21, 1999. Media from around the world poured into the area after 15 people were killed during a shooting spree inside the school.