ADA, Okla. (AP) — Chris Lane traveled from Australia to the United States for the love of the game and the opportunity to secure a college degree while playing America’s pastime. On the small campus of East Central University in Oklahoma, he made a home for himself in class and on the baseball field.
The 22-year-old Melbourne native was fatally shot in the back last week while jogging along a tree-lined street near his girlfriend’s home in Duncan. Three boys are charged with what prosecutors call a thrill killing, while those who knew Lane in the U.S. and Australia are trying to come to grips with the random attack.
A former coach who recruited Lane from Australia remembered him Wednesday as a well-rounded guy who was passionate about the sport and used his skills to pursue a college education.
Lane was entering his senior year. His coach, Dino Rosato, said Lane was a joy to coach, and other teammates looked to him for advice and support.
Lane had been playing baseball for the Essendon Baseball Club in Australia when Newgent recruited him to play for Redlands Community College in El Reno in 2009.
Lane and his girlfriend had recently returned from a trip to Australia, and Lane was visiting her and her parents in Duncan, a south-central Oklahoma city of about 24,000. He went for a jog Friday afternoon and was shot once in the back.
He died along a road on Duncan’s well-to-do north side. Prosecutors said the three teens, from the grittier part of town, chose Lane at random and that one of the boys thinks it’s all a joke.
On Tuesday, Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, of Duncan, were charged with first-degree murder. Under Oklahoma law they will be tried as adults.
Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan, was charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in an adult court.
Police have said the 17-year-old told authorities the boys were bored and decided to kill someone just for fun.
Autopsy results released Wednesday say Lane died from a penetrating gunshot wound to back.
Story by Kristi Eaton, Associated Press