DUNCAN — A judge is set to begin hearing testimony Tuesday in a homicide case that has attracted international attention because the victim was a baseball player from Australia.
Three defendants are accused of fatally shooting the victim in the back because they were bored. Stephens County Special Judge Jerry Herberger must decide if the evidence is sufficient against them for a trial.
Chancey Allen Luna, 16, James Francis Edwards Jr., 16, and Michael Dewayne Jones, 18, are charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 16 drive-by shooting. All three are from Duncan.
The victim, Christopher Lane, 22, was in Duncan visiting his girlfriend. Both had just returned from Australia. Lane, a senior at East Central University in Ada, was shot while jogging along a street.
The preliminary hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, unless winter weather forces another delay.
The hearing is expected to last most of Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday. It is different from a trial because the judge likely will hear only from prosecution witnesses.
Luna has been identified by authorities in court records as the teenager who fired the gun, a .22-caliber revolver. The weapon has not been recovered.
If convicted at trial, all three face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty because of their ages at the time of the shooting.
Duncan's image has taken a hit in some coverage of the tragedy.
“Like many American towns, its soul has been swallowed by chain stores and fast-food restaurants,” Vanity Fair magazine reported in its February issue. “The old Rock Island tracks literally divide the have and have-nots, in an increasingly unbridgeable split.”