On the fine and hot afternoon of 16 August 2013 young Australian baseballer Chris Lane was on a training run through the streets of Duncan, Oklahoma when the crack of a shot shattered the quiet suburban scene. Lane screamed as a bullet tore into his back, mortally wounding him. Despite the best efforts of two locals, Lane died before the ambulance arrived.
A witness believed that the shot was fired from a passing car – a black Ford Focus that had accelerated rapidly from the scene soon after.
A promising athlete, 22 – year-old Lane had been on a baseball scholarship at East Central University and had just returned to the United States after visiting his parents in Australia with American girlfriend Sarah Harper. He was just short of his 23rd birthday when he was gunned down.
Police soon identified three youths as the suspects – 16-year-old local Chancey Luna, who police believed pulled the trigger, and Michael Jones, 17, who drove the car from which the shot was fired. The third youth was James Edwards, a passenger in the car, who was only 15 years old at the time. He agreed to become a witness for the prosecution against his two friends Luna and Jones. In police interviews that followed, the reason given for the senseless shooting was that they were bored at the time.
All three went to trial and were found guilty. Luna was sentenced to life in jail without parole for the crime of first-degree murder. Jones, the driver, was found guilty of second-degree murder and also sentenced to life but with the possibility of parole after 38 years. James Edwards, the prosecution witness, received a 25-year sentence – but this was reduced by ten years.
In 2016 an Oklahoma Appeals Court overturned the life sentence handed down to Luna on the grounds that life without parole was unconstitutional for a juvenile.
A television documentary, “In Cold Blood” was released in 2016 and contained a lengthy interview with Michael Jones, who appeared as a prisoner in the Davis Correctional Facility. He was unable to provide a clear reason or motive to explain the shooting.