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Two charged in jogger's fatal shooting in Duncan thought gun had blanks, witness testifies

The youngest of three defendants charged in fatal shooting of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane in Duncan testified against the other two after making a deal with prosecutors.
by Nolan Clay Modified: February 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm •  Published: February 4, 2014

The painter, Richard Rhoades, said he heard a loud pop while starting to clean up from a house-painting job. He said he found Lane face down on Country Club Road. He described Lane as gasping for air every 30 to 45 seconds.

Rhoades said he and a woman turned Lane over and did CPR. He said the woman after a short time told him to stop, that the victim was gone. “She reached over and shut his eyelids and I put my shirt over his face,” Rhoades said.

In the weeks after the shooting, police and Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks described the shooting as a thrill killing. Police Chief Danny Ford told reporters the driver, Jones, had said the three shot the jogger because they were bored.

There was no testimony Tuesday, though, about motive.

Edwards testified there was no talk of shooting anyone while he was in the car. He said he didn't even know Luna had a gun.

He said Jones and Luna had picked him up the afternoon of Aug. 16 to take him to the courthouse so he could sign up for probation on a juvenile theft offense. He said he had agreed to share some marijuana with them for the ride.

He said he asked them if they had shot a donkey the night before. He said Jones answered, “Yes, we did.”

A female donkey was found shot repeatedly in Duncan the morning of Aug. 16.

Edwards said he was rolling a marijuana cigarette on his laptop on the car's front seat when Jones swerved toward the jogger and Luna fired. Edwards said he saw the jogger in the mirror holding his right side.

He said he then looked Luna and Jones directly in their faces. He described both as looking cold and shocked.

“I didn't know what to say. I was confused,” Edwards testified.

He said the conversation about blanks took place while they stopped outside a Mexican restaurant to hide the gun underneath the hood of Jones' car.

Police in August said the three defendants had been at a house and targeted Lane after seeing him jog by. Police based their initial account on statements Jones made after his arrest.

Edwards, though, said nothing about stopping at a house. Instead, he said the three had been stopped for a red light when they saw the jogger ahead of them on Country Club Road.

Edwards described the gun used in the shooting as a .22-caliber revolver. Authorities have not recovered the weapon.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Luna and Jones face life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of release.

Relatives and friends of all three defendants filled the courtroom Tuesday. Luna's mother, Jennifer Luna, brought to court a large scrapbook of her son's accomplishments. has disabled the comments for this article.