Oklahoma teen sentenced to life in prison for killing of Australian

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2015 6:15 PM

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma teenager charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 fatal shooting death of an Australian baseball player pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, court officials said.

Michael Jones, 19, was the driver of a car from which shots were fired that hit Melbourne resident Christopher Lane, 22, who was a student at East Central University, as he was jogging in south Oklahoma, court records showed.

Jones, who accepted a plea deal, will be eligible for parole in 36 years. He could have received life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Chancey Luna and James Edwards Jr., both of Duncan, are also charged in the shooting.

Luna is charged with first-degree murder and is suspected of shooting the gun. His trial is set to start on April 13.

Edwards has seen his charges reduced after agreeing to work with prosecutors.

Prosecutors said the three, who were under 18 at the time of the crime, were on a joy ride and shot Lane for no apparent reason. People who commit capital crimes before age 18 cannot be sentenced to death in the United States.

As part of the sentencing agreement, Jones will not testify against Luna.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)