Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

August 21, 2013

Thrill killing befuddles small Oklahoma town

(Continued)

DUNCAN, Okla. —

Police investigators said the teenagers were not part of an organized gang, but that they saw themselves as “gangsters” such as those portrayed on TV and in the movies.

District Attorney Jason Hicks characterized the trio as “thugs” who besmirched the reputation of the town, birthplace of the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Ron Howard, the Hollywood producer and actor.

“This is not something that is supposed to happen here,” said Hicks. “And to our friends in Australia, I would say to you this is not Duncan, Oklahoma, this is not Stephens County, Oklahoma.”

Hicks said police investigators determined the teens randomly selected Lane as a victim when he jogged past them on the north side of town. He said the youths were bored and looking to “kill somebody for fun.”  He said Luna pulled the trigger on the .22-caliber pistol from his backseat passenger’s position at about 3 p.m. Friday.

The teenagers were arrested four hours later in a church parking lot and processed for arrest on a first-degree murder complaint. Hicks said police have a video showing Edwards, the youngest at 15, “dancing, laughing and carrying on” during his booking.

“It was a great big joke to him,” said Hicks, adding that Edwards signed court documents related to his juvenile probation on other issues a half-hour after the murder of Lane as though nothing had happened.

Edwards’ father, James Edwards Sr., said his son “really doesn’t understand it all. He really doesn’t understand how serious it was.”

Rachael Padilla, Edwards’ sister, noted that only the two defendants of color were charged with first-degree murder, and that lesser charges were filed against Jones, a white youth.

“I don’t feel it is fair,” she said.

Lane was killed a week after he returned from a summer break vacation to his native Australia with his girlfriend, Sarah Harper of Duncan. He was staying with Harper’s family for a few days before returning to East Central University in Ada, Okla., for his senior year and resumption of his college baseball career.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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