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One year since Chris Lane murder

DUNCAN, Okla_Some know the evening of Friday, August 16th, 2013 as Duncan's darkest hour.  

That's when police say three teens drove past Australian baseball player Chris Lane as he was jogging and opened fire. The crime immediately prompted several questions into why it happened by news outlets all over the world. Over the past year, we've not only learned more about Lane, but about the suspects as well. We take a look back into where the case stands now and how one small oklahoma town is coping one year later.


He was a Melbourne-native who had a baseball scholarship at East Central University and dreams of a real estate career in Australia. But his life --cut short on a hot Friday evening.

Just days after the crime, three suspects -- brought to light through surveillance video.  Chancey Luna, the alleged shooter,  and James Edwards Junior both charged with murder as adults -- driver Michael Jones charged with accessory. Further evidence suggested Jones had been involved in another shooting that fateful day and in November, he too was charged with murder as an adult.


Then in February, shocking developments as James Edwards Junior takes the stand and testifies against Luna and Jones in an attempt to receive a lesser charge. February also introduced us to a fourth suspect, Oddesse Barnes, charged with accessory for his role in concealing the gun used in the shooting. In May, court documents said new evidence moved away from Edwards as a primary role. Murder charges and the adult status were dropped for Edwards. He now faces accessory charges as a juvenile.


The past year has been one that Duncan has never experienced before. The small town was on every channel all over the U.S. and Australia. And the reaction wasn't good.

"People thinking of going to the USA for business or tourists trips should think carefully about it given the statistical fact you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people," said former Australian prime minister Tim Fischer, when he appeared on CNN in September 2013.

Vanity Fair Magazine also adding fuel to the fire, calling Duncan "soul-less" and suggesting the murder occurred as a result of racial and social differences within the city.

"He didn't give our community a fair portrayal. He didn't show everything about us," said Duncan resident Mikayla Riddles in January 2014.

But what locals say the national media didn't pick up on, was a community that refused to give up when times got tough.

"This is not what we're about. This is not what Duncan is. Duncan is helping Sarah and her family heal," said Vicki Lynch, Duncan resident and family friend of Lane's girlfriend last August.

By changing the conversation by competing in a national contest, many agree that the ones hit the hardest were the ones leading the community to healing.

"I couldn't be prouder of how our kids reacted to that...we just feel like our community has learned from it and grew from it," said Duncan High principal Justin Smith.

"It is a great place to live and raise your family," said Duncan Mayor Gene Brown. "The people really care for the people that live here and also the people that come into our city."

"No town is perfect. Every community has issues that need to be worked on. We try really hard make this town someplace safe," said Riddles.


Murder suspects Chancey Luna and Michael Jones are set to stand trial for Chris Lane's murder in April. Meanwhile, Oddesse Barnes is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in November.


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