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Final Defendant Sentenced In Australian Baseball Player’s Murder

Chris Lane was murdered in Duncan, Oklahoma in August 2013.
Chris Lane was murdered in Duncan, Oklahoma in August 2013.

An 18-year-old who was an accomplice in the murder of an Australian baseball player in Duncan, Oklahoma was sentenced to over a decade in prison.

Stephens County District Judge Ken Graham handed down a 25 year sentence to James Francis Edwards, Jr. on Tuesday. Ten years of his sentence was suspended, and Graham credited him with 3 years for time already served. Edwards will have 2 years of probation following his release.

Credit Stephens County Sheriff's Department
Stephens County Sheriff's Department
James Francis Edwards, Jr.

Edwards was 15-years-old when he was an accessory in the murder of 22-year-old Chris Lane. Edwards was in a car with Michael DeWayne Jones, Odesse John David Barnes and Chancey Alley Luna when Luna shot Lane in the back. Lane, who was on a baseball scholarship at East Central University, was visiting his girlfriend in Duncan when he was shot and killed while jogging.

Jones had said the motive for the killing was boredom.

Christian Betancourt of the The Duncan Banner reports Edwards pleaded guilty in September to accessory to murder in Stephens County Court. He was originally charged with first degree murder, but that was changed when he chose to testify against Jones, Barnes and Luna. He was later ordered to a boot camp in Ava.

Edwards, who admitted he made a phone call from jail to a friend to hide the murder weapon, testified to Graham that he was a spoiled young athlete at the time of the murder and that he has grown up during his time in prison.

“I wonder how much of this is truthful or not,” said Graham of his testimony. “Your report back (from serving at a boot camp before sentencing) is exemplary. All things considered, your testimony today seems like you’re looking for people to blame for your behavior.”

Edwards’ attorney, Al Hoch, asked for 5 years of jail followed by a long period of probation. District Attorney Jason Hicks requested 20 years imprisonment and 20 years of probation.

Luna is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Jones pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence, and Barnes was sentenced to 12 years for accessory to murder.

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