Oklahoma man pleads guilty as accessory to murder of Australian student

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 27, 2015 1:00 PM

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma man charged as an accessory after the fact in the murder of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane has pled guilty to hiding the gun used to kill the athlete, prosecutors in the state said on Tuesday.

Oddesse Barnes, 23, pled guilty in a deal with Stephens County prosecutors and agreed to testify against Chancey Luna and Michael Jones, who are facing first-degree murder charges.

Barnes will serve 12 years for the crime, followed by 13 years of probation for hiding the handgun thought to have been used to kill Lane, prosecutors said.

Teenagers Luna and Jones will be tried separately in April.

The two are accused of tracking Melbourne resident Lane, who police said was shot in the back on Aug. 16, 2013, while jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma, a town about 80 miles (130 km) south of Oklahoma City. Lane, 23, was a student at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

Prosecutors said the pair decided to kill someone "for the fun of it." Lawyers for the teenagers have denied that accusation. A third teenager in the car with the pair at the time of the incident has agreed to testify against the two.

The teens, who were 17 and 16 at the time of Lane's death, face possible sentences of life in prison without parole if convicted. People who commit capital crimes before age 18 cannot be sentenced to death in the United States.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)