Bored to Death: The Senseless Murder of Chris Lane

Chris Lane, a 22 year-old student and baseball star from Melbourne, Australia attending East Central University, was shot in the back on Country Club Road in Duncan, Okla., by a trio of thugs who said they were bored and when he jogged by the home of one of the killers, they got into their vehicle to follow him and shoot him in the back.

James Francis Edwards, Jr. is charged in the murder of Lane who was shot once in the back Friday as he was jogging near his girlfriend’s family’s home in Duncan,. Prosecutors say the 15-year-old Edwards was in the passenger seat of a car driven by Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, when Chancey Allen Luna, 16, shot and killed Lane from the backseat.

“They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’ Police Chief Dan Ford reported. “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’”

Lane was a student at East Central University in Oklahoma. A native of Melbourne, he hoped to go into real estate when he graduated next May.  “He achieved a lot for a 22-year-old,” his father, Peter Lane, told reporters in Melbourne. “He gave up a lot to follow his dream.”

Lane and his girlfriend, Sarah Harper, had recently returned from a trip to Australia, and Lane was visiting Harper and her parents in Duncan, a south-central Oklahoma city of about 24,000, at the time he was shot.

Witnesses said Lane fell into a ditch panting with blood on his back before emergency personnel arrived.  Three good Samaritans who were nearby tried to keep him alive until the police arrived.  But the handsome college student died before help could arrive, never knowing what hit him or why he was dying.

After murdering Lane – some say as part of an initiation rite into the Crips gang – the trio drove to the house of a teenager who had refused to join their gang.  Their plan was to kill him.  However, the teen’s father stood outside the house after his son warned him that the killers were on their way.

Meanwhile, one of the good Samaritans was able to furnish police with an accurate description of the car he had seen race around the corner, and its direction.

Within minutes of Lane’s murder, the police followed them to the Don Jose restaurant a few blocks away, where police obtained security camera footage of the car speeding through its parking lot.  In turn, a police officer viewing the footage recognised the car and identified the owner.  The police arrived at their next victim’ house and arrested them.  Ammunition and a disassembled shotgun were found in the vehicle.

The teen’s father says the boys had threatened his son’s life before they arrived at his house and believes they murdered Lane as part of a gang initiation and targeted his son because he had refused to join.

Edwards and Luna face life in prison without the possibility of parole if they’re convicted. The teens will be tried as adults. Jones, who is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court, faces anywhere from two years to life in prison.

In a court hearing Tuesday, prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys “thugs.” “I’m appalled,” Hicks said after the hearing. “This is not supposed to happen in this community.”

Edwards has had prior run-ins with the law and came to court Friday – apparently after the shooting – to sign documents related to his juvenile probation.

Duncan, Okla., is really not a small town, not with a population of 24,000.  Ninety percent of its population is said to be “urban”.  According to the 2010 census, which was three years ago, 3.4 percent of its population is Black, 9.7 percent Hispanic, and 3.3 percent of mixed race.

Duncan is a 90-minute drive from Oklahoma City.  The city of Lawton is closer.  Between 2005 and 2006, the highest number of relocations to Duncan were from nearby Commanche (Lawton) and Cleveland and Oklahoma Counties (Oklahoma City and its southeast suburb).  Duncan’s housing values (already low) took a nosedive in 2012.  The city has a 14.6 percent poverty rate (as of 2011).  The majority of workers in Duncan work in Duncan, mostly in manufacturing (metal and plastic workers), mining, and oil production.

The number of rapes since the last census in 2000 has doubled.  Robberies and assaults have declined, but burglaries and auto thefts have risen.  The unemployment rate was high in 2008, but has almost come back down to its normal level.  It’s the dramatic plunge of home prices, from the high $90Ks in the second quarter of 2012 to $30,000 in the third quarter of 2012.

What happened in Duncan to cause the price of housing to drop so precipitously in one quarter?

Duncan once adopted the slogan, “The Buckle on the Oil Belt.”  Its main claim to fame is as the birthplace of the Halliburton Corporation.  Erle P. Halliburton perfected a new method of cementing wells, making oil production much easier and more profitable, and established the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company in 1919.  He died in 1957, at which time the company had 201 offices in 22 states and 20 foreign countries.  Halliburton maintains seven different complexes in Duncan plus an employee recreational park, but the corporate offices relocated first to Dallas and later to Houston.  The town even features a memorial statue of Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company founder Erie P. Hamilton in its Memorial Park.

Halliburton operates the Halliburton Technology Center in Duncan. In 2010 Halliburton announced that 150 jobs in the center will move to Houston over the following two years.  That would explain the steep drop in housing prices.  When the major employer leaves the town, the workers follow and property values decline.  Urban residents looking for cheap housing move in.

Duncan is the county seat for Stephens County and is the birthplace of several notable celebrities including actor/director Ron Howard, country music singer Hoyt Axton, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former United Nations ambassador.

Norman (pop. 111,000) and Moore (55,000) are cities that annexed their suburbs, evidently panicking the populations that lived there and would have to support the cities’ taxes. Only 25 percent of Norman’s households have children and a greater number of its households are unaffiliated.  Likewise, in Duncan, only 28 percent of households have young children.  Moore, of course, was the site of this spring’s devastating tornado.

Chris Lane wasn’t doing anything to anyone.  He wasn’t dealing drugs, smoking dope (as far as we know), beating up bus drivers, or tweeting thuggish boasts on Twitter.  Interestingly, the newspapers haven’t noted whether the shotgun was legal or not (it was probably illegal), which negates Australia’s understandable but baseless claims that America’s gun laws are responsible for Lane’s death.

Lane’s death is frightening and horrifying for the fact that his killers came out of nowhere and killed him for no very good reason – a gang initiation rite.  Agenda 21 advocates decry suburban sprawl.  However, it seems that it is urban sprawl that is spreading the threat of gangs into the suburbs and even the rural countryside.  The Stephens County prosecutor can’t understand what has happened to his small, quiet community.  What’s happened is that it’s no longer small by any measure, quiet, or safe.  Just ask the Stephens County Sheriff.

It’s what’s in store for small cities like Duncan, small towns like Bloomingdale, Wanaque, and Pompton Lakes, and even rural communities if HUD is allowed to carry out its Neighborhood Targeting Plan, planting the cancer of poverty, crime, and violence into every suburban town in America.  Some Great Society.

Duncan is a Republican town.  It won’t stay that way for long if this trend continues and HUD and Obama get their way.  If this kind of crime can happen in the middle of America’s heartland, it can happen anywhere.  From coast to coast, America will be one blood-soaked, garbage swept, crime-infested ghetto, where you will never know if and when some thug is going to come up from behind and shoot you in the back because you’re prosperous, or well-dressed, or better educated.

Or just because they’re bored and have nothing better to do.

Just an added note:  many thanks to the good guys who picked up the Wanaque River Bridge mattress on the Hamburg Turnpike.  There’s still much work to be done, but we’re one step closer to preserving Pompton Lakes.

Published in: on August 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

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