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Autopsy: Single bullet killed Australian athlete

By Sean Murphy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:21 p.m. HST, Aug 27, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY >> The bullet that killed an Australian baseball player in a random attack this month collapsed both his lungs, fractured two ribs and tore through his aorta and pulmonary artery before lodging in his shoulder, the state medical examiner said today.

The medical examiner’s autopsy report supports the theory of Duncan police that Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne was shot with a small-caliber weapon from behind by someone passing him in a car and that the shooter intended to kill the athlete by aiming for his upper torso.

Lane died Aug. 16 in Duncan, and police say three teenagers targeted him at random to break up the monotony of an Oklahoma summer.

The official cause of death was listed as “penetrating gunshot wound to the back.”

“The bullet has a small caliber, is made of gray metal, with no jacket and has a round nose and visible markings that appear slightly deformed on the side,” the autopsy said. Police have said Lane was killed with a .22-caliber handgun, and they found .22-caliber ammunition in a suspect’s vehicle.

The report suggests the bullet entered Lane’s lower back on an upward trajectory, struck two ribs and passed through his esophagus, heart and lungs before stopping near his left shoulder.

“After penetrating the skin, the bullet passed forward, upward and to the right,” the report said.

Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, both of Duncan, have been charged as adults with first-degree murder. 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. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.

Although the autopsy report will be a critical piece of evidence that supports police and prosecutors’ theory about how Lane was shot, it does nothing to specifically link the three defendants to the killing, said Art LeFrancois, a criminal law professor at Oklahoma City University’s School of Law.

“It certainly is significant that the autopsy thus far does not seem to contradict or seem to be inconsistent with the theory that the police have of the case,” LeFrancois said. “It would have been troubling and problematic for the prosecution if the autopsy was inconsistent with the police’s case.”

Luna’s attorney, Jim Berry, told The Associated Press today that his client was not involved in the shooting, but declined further comment. Edwards’ attorney, Al Hoch, and District Attorney Jason Hicks also declined to discuss the case, citing a gag order the judge in the case issued today.

Stephens County Special Judge Jerry Herberger’s gag order prohibits police, prosecutors and defense attorneys from discussing the case publicly.

In the days after the slaying, Duncan Police Chief Dan Ford said the older boy told investigators that the three were “bored” and decided to kill someone for the “fun of it.”

Lane moved to Oklahoma to play baseball. He would have been a senior at East Central University and hoped to enter the real estate business.

Duncan is about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City.

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localguy wrote:
Sad to see these three young men have ruined their lives, could spend either life or decades behind bars. Well, the good point for them is they will not be bored in prison. Will meet all kinds of new friends and learn lots of new activities to keep them busy, day or night. Be afraid of prison, be very afraid.
on August 27,2013 | 03:02PM
Fred01 wrote:
This was a hate crime. Why no mention of the cowards' race?
on August 27,2013 | 03:10PM
Morimoto wrote:
Two suspects are black, one white. Did the white suspect hate other white guys?
on August 27,2013 | 03:40PM
hanalei395 wrote:
With your mentioning that one of the killers was a white guy, you just ruined Fred's day.
on August 27,2013 | 04:16PM
Fred01 wrote:
You are the biggest racist around, mumbling old fool!
on August 27,2013 | 04:26PM
hanalei395 wrote:
I also ruined Fred's day.
on August 27,2013 | 04:52PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Fred, who is now my usual stalker (the other one gave up), will now follow me around.
on August 27,2013 | 04:58PM
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