Charge against Duncan thrill-kill defendant upgraded to first-degree murder

The upgraded charge against Michael D. Jones means all three defendants face first-degree murder charges in the Aug. 16 shooting death of Australian Christopher Lane in Duncan.
by Nolan Clay Modified: November 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm •  Published: November 6, 2013

— In a surprise move, a prosecutor Wednesday upgraded to first-degree murder the case against the teenager who cooperated with police early on in the investigation of the random shooting of a jogger.

The prosecutor also revealed in court that Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, is a suspect in two other shootings.

After cooperating with police, Jones initially was charged only with accessory to murder after the fact and use of a motor vehicle in the discharge of a weapon.

Prosecutors dropped those counts Wednesday and filed the murder case against Jones instead.

The change means all three Duncan teenagers arrested after the Aug. 16 drive-by shooting now face a first-degree murder charge.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20 for Jones, Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards Jr., 16.

The victim, Christopher Lane, 22, was in Duncan visiting his girlfriend. He was shot in the back while jogging along a street during the afternoon of Aug. 16. Authorities in the past have described the shooting as a thrill killing.

The shooting has attracted international attention because Lane was from Australia. He was in Oklahoma on a college scholarship to play baseball.

Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks told reporters Wednesday he could not explain why he upgraded the charge against Jones. He said he could not elaborate because a judge has issued a gag order prohibiting statements outside the courtroom about the case.

Jones claimed the three teenagers targeted the jogger because they were bored, the Duncan police chief said in August before the judge issued the gag order.

In an Aug. 18 police interview, Jones admitted he was driving, Edwards was in the front seat and Luna was in the back seat, according to court affidavits.

“Jones advised that Chancey Luna had fired the shot that struck Christopher Lane and that Jones heard Christopher Lane scream as the shot was fired,” a district attorney's investigator wrote in court affidavits.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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