DUNCAN, Okla. -- With the simplest of motives -- breaking up the boredom of an Oklahoma summer -- three teenagers followed an Australian collegiate baseball player who was attending school in the U.S. and killed him with a shot to the back for "the fun of it," prosecutors said Tuesday as they charged two of the teens with murder.
As the boys appeared in an Oklahoma courtroom, a 17-year-old blurted out, "I pulled the trigger," then wept after a judge told him that Tuesday's hearing wasn't the time or place to sort out the facts of the case.
Prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys "thugs" as he told Stephens County Judge Jerry Herberger how Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, died on a city street.
Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, of Duncan were charged with first-degree murder and, under Oklahoma law, will be tried as adults. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan was accused of using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.
"I'm appalled," Hicks said after the hearing. "This is not supposed to happen in this community."
In court, Hicks said Luna was sitting in the rear seat of a car when he pulled the trigger on a .22 caliber revolver and shot Lane once in the back. Hicks said Jones was driving the vehicle and Edwards was in the passenger seat.
Edwards has had run-ins with the law previously and had been in court Friday, the day of the killing, to sign documents related to his juvenile probation.
"I believe this man is a threat to the community and should not be let out," Hicks said as he requested no bond for Edwards. "He thinks it's all a joke."
The two younger boys were held without bond; Bond was set at $1 million for Jones.
Family and friends on two continents mourned Lane, who gave up pursuit of an Australian football career to pursue his passion for baseball, an American pastime. His girlfriend Sarah Harper tearfully laid a cross at a streetside memorial in Duncan, while half a world away, an impromptu memorial grew at the home plate he protected as a catcher on his youth team.
"We just thought we'd leave it," Sarah Harper said as she visited the memorial on Duncan's north, well-to-do side. "This is his final spot."
Flowers, photos and an Australian flag already adorned the roadside in a tribute to Lane.
"I don't know anybody who's left this. It means a lot," Harper said.
Police Chief Dan Ford has said the boys wanted to overcome a boring end to their summer vacation -- classes in Duncan resumed Tuesday -- and that Jones told officers that they were bored and killed Lane for "the fun of it."