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February 5, 2014

Okla. teen: Friends thought gun only had blanks inside

DUNCAN — One of three boys accused in the fatal shooting of an Australian baseball player last summer said in court Tuesday that his friends believed the gun used in the crime contained only blanks.

James Francis Edwards Jr. agreed to testify against his co-defendants during a preliminary hearing. In exchange for his testimony continuing through trial, prosecutors said they will drop a murder charge and he would only face an accessory charge.

He told an Oklahoma judge Tuesday that Chancey Luna, 16, shot and killed Christopher Lane, of Melbourne, from a car driven by Michael Dewayne Jones, 18.

The judge won’t decide until March whether Luna and Jones will stand trial because a witness asked to be represented by an attorney. Edwards’ preliminary hearing was also delayed, until May.

Edwards, 16, said he was rolling marijuana cigarettes in the front passenger seat when Luna shot at Lane from the back seat.

The teens later drove to a restaurant, where Luna and Jones exchanged words. According to Edwards, Luna said to Jones that he thought the gun only had blanks inside them. Jones then responded: “Me too. I’m sorry,” Edwards said.

Jones and Luna then dropped off Edwards at court for Edwards to sign probation papers related to a juvenile charge, said Edwards, who testified wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.

Later, Luna and Jones picked up Edwards at an apartment complex where Edward’s father works. The two boys took Edwards to a church parking lot where he was planning to fight another person in an unrelated matter, but all three boys were arrested, Edwards said.

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