News World Australian baseballer’s murder accused in US court

Australian baseballer’s murder accused in US court

Chris Lane
The site of Chris Lane's killing. Photo: Getty Photo: Getty
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The youngest teenager accused of the drive-by shooting murder of Australian baseballer Chris Lane has appeared in an Oklahoma court.

James Edwards Jr, who was 15 when Lane was shot in the back while jogging along a Duncan, Oklahoma, street last August, was scheduled to face a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Edwards Jr’s family was hoping a plea deal would be struck, with the first degree murder count dropped and replaced with an accessory count.

However, shortly after Edwards Jr shuffled into court in handcuffs and leg irons, Judge Jerry Herberger adjourned the hearing until June 17.

No reason was given.

A court order prevents prosecutors and lawyers involved in the case from speaking to the media.

Edwards’ father, James Sr, told AAP he was hoping his son would soon be released from Stephens County Jail, where he has been held since Lane was shot in the back and left to die on August 16.

District Attorney Jason Hicks revealed in February Edwards Jr had become a prosecution witness.

Edwards Jr testified for the prosecution at the preliminary hearing for co-accused, Chancey Luna, 17, and Michael Jones, 18, in February.

But instead of providing evidence to support the prosecution’s case that Luna and Jones murdered the athlete, Edwards Jr told how Jones, who was driving a Ford Focus, suddenly swerved just as it approached Lane.

Edwards Jr said after the swerve, Luna, sitting in the backseat of the car, fired a .22 revolver that struck Lane as he jogged on the side of the road.

Luna’s lawyers, Howard and Jim Berry, argued Edwards Jr’s evidence indicated Lane’s death was an accident.

Edwards Jr also testified he heard Luna say he thought the gun was loaded with blanks.